The Church as mother is ever solicitous about the well-being of her faithful. All through life, the Church accompanies the faithful nourishing their life with the grace of the sacraments and guiding them in the path of righteousness. Even in death this solicitude is never lacking. This is evident in the rite of Christian funeral.
The Episcopacy of Most Rev. Donatus Ogun, Bishop of Uromi Diocese has invested much energy and resources on the subject of Burial practices in Esanland. In additional to the several seminars that were organized to reflect and discuss this matter at different times, a special Diocesan Assembly was organized in February 2020 for the same purpose. The Assembly brought together the faithful from all the parishes/Mass Centres in the Diocese of Uromi, Christians from other denominations, Muslims and Traditionalists in Esanland to collectively look at various perspectives of burial practices in Esanland.
Following from this pastoral initiative and the fruit of several years of reflection and prayers, the Bishop has issued guidelines for Christian burial in the Catholic Diocese of Uromi. These guidelines are contained in his 2021 Lenten Pastoral Letter titled Alive or Dead we belong to God (Rm 14:8). The letter was given in Uromi at the Cathedral Church of St. Anthony, on 17th February, Ash Wednesday, in the year of Our Lord 2021. The Guidelines begin with a presentation of General principles on death and burial of Catholic Christians. It continues with specific guidelines on announcement of death, preparation for the funeral of the deceased, mourning, Church funeral, and post internment activities. The issue of inheritance of the estate of the deceased and how this can be best managed as well as various kinds of memorials that can be celebrated in honour of the departed faithful were also treated.
The regulations contained in the document take effect immediately.
This document is available and can be purchased from all parishes/Mass Centres in Uromi Diocese. For sons and daughters of Uromi Diocese and any other person outside Esanland interested in having a copy of this document, you can place your order through the Directorate of Social Communications, Uromi Diocese (09060201278).
Below is an excerpt from the Letter.
The death and burial of Christians is a subject that invites reflection, because of its importance to individual Christians as well as the entire community of faith. As the words of the Preface of Christian Death (1) teaches us “Indeed for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.” At the level of intellectual belief, these words aptly capture the thoughts of all Christians. However, living experience and actual practices at the passing and obsequies of a Christian, have revealed the need to continually deepen what we believe, such that there will be no contradiction between what we practice and what we profess…
In our time, we have been able to discern from our listening to the faithful, a willingness on the part of the people to build upon the laudable efforts of the traditional institutions of Esan culture and heritage, and to continually shine the light of faith upon our burial practices, in the light of modern day realities. This is why after a period of prayerful reflection, we decided to call for a Pastoral Assembly in February 2020, where as a family and under the light of the Gospel, we tried to deepen our faith and make proposals towards improving our burial practices.
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