NO TRUE PEACE WITHOUT THE JOY OF GOD’S MERCY
The Mass is the highest prayer we as a Church can offer; because it is the very action of Jesus Christ Himself re-enacted. Hence, we bless this Home of Mercy and Peace (Uwa Itohan Bi Ofure) today and offer this first Mass here since we took it over as a diocese and made the remodeling. This is a Home where persons can come and enjoy mercy and God’s love, a home of hospitality similar to the home of Abraham (Gen. 18:1-15), where the vulnerable and elderly will laugh like Sarah to the promise of the Angel, not in hiding or denial but in appreciation to the fact that this is real. We know that as human beings there can be no true peace without the joy of having the feeling of God’s mercy in the heart.
The Plight of the Weak and Elderly
Our apostolic endeavor attempts a reminder through this Home to help persons; in particular, the senior citizens and vulnerable persons that it is not an offence to be old or weak from old age or other forms of human illness. It is easy to say ‘it is not our culture, it is not our problem, we take care of the elderly’ but the reality on ground shows that without being our culture, it is becoming our way of life that we neglect the sick, elderly, feeble and sadly too, some are neglected as witches with nobody to take care of them. It is not an offence to be weak or old. In Europe, it is almost becoming a thing of pain to be old. But we have a culture of taking care of those God has allowed to reach that stage.
It is Our Responsibility To Care for the Weak and Elderly
The elderly have a lot to offer us. They are our link with history/mobile museums and the future that leads to eternity. Some persons out of poverty begin to feel rejected, sick, etc. many people want to remain close to their root, to be near home. But their children would wish to have them live outside home. Our intention therefore is to offer a balance, an equilibrium for those who cannot have the two worlds: live in the city with the children or the children leave the city for the village to take care of them. Many want to remain in the village and nobody to take care of them, many live in very pitiable environment. Ours is to offer hospitality like Abraham and healing of brokenness to the sorrowful like Jesus in the gospel (Mt. 8:5-17).
This Centre will serve as the epicenter from where we hope to reach out to all persons in need in the diocese. I appreciate the turnout by priests and consecrated persons, because by this we are reminding ourselves to open our eyes again, we may not have all the means to take care of them but let it be seen that we are doing something and since it is God’s own, God himself will provide (Gen. 22:8) because God loves His people. He will provide through many good people. Although it is not an occasion to lament unfulfilled promises, we rejoice at the fact that this as well the remodeling of St. Camillus Hospital was part of our dream in the Year of Mercy when we celebrated our Tenth Anniversary as a diocese. As part of the fulfillment of our Tenth Anniversary dream, we just commissioned a Transformer donated by one of our sons to remedy the poor and epileptic power situation in the Hospital. Today we gather to open this Home of Mercy and Peace, reminding the civil authorities of their responsibility of caring for the sick, homebound, senior citizens and all classes of needy persons without execption.
The Purpose of this Home
The plan is not to make persons neglect their responsibility towards their vulnerable relatives but to remind us of our obligation to take care of them. It is the task of all.
True development is not in having structures and skyscrapers, good roads and scientific discoveries but in developing the different categories of human persons: i.e the unborn, children, the young, the working class, the elderly, the weak and vulnerable. The omission of any of these is a failure of that human society. Give them a sense of living, give them work, those who work, give them the rightful pay and those who have worked, give them the joy of looking forward to returning to heaven through just and meritorious pension. It is not an offence to be a senior citizen. If we neglect any of these we have failed in developing persons.
Our vision as a diocese through this home is to develop persons and celebrate the seniors of our land, acknowledging their contribution while they were active and appreciating the fact that Esan Land can boast of the best among the best and not just those who make effort to cross the sea to Europe.
We thank the Sisters of Saint Louis (SSL) for agreeing to come and help us realize this dream. We thank our donors and benefactors; Chief Lee Ikpea, Knights of St. Mulumba Benin City, St. Anthony Cathedral Uromi, Lumen Christi International High School, Sir Philip Inegbedion, the Uromi Diocesan Building/Projects Commission led by Fr. S P. Osinde and Fr. Paul Akhare, Chancellor, all the priests and persons who helped to see this realized, those who gave advice, and those who believe that it would work. If it works, it is because we are part of it. We thank you all specially today for coming out to show your love and solidarity especially our chairman Sir Egbadon Matthew and Prof. Julius Okojie our guest speaker.
We are happy to have you here, May God bless you. As we bless this Home, we pray that God may make it a Home of Mercy and Peace where people will experience the joy of God.