Our Books and Authors

Touching Stories and Issues

– Fr. Martin C. Umunnakwe, CSSp


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The world is so vast and has so many fascinations. From time to time, people discover some of these fascinations and in their joys and excitement they cannot hold back the urge to share of these fascinations and experiences with others. Fr. Martin Umunnakwe, C.S.Sp, shares with us some of these fascinations of the universe that tickle his fancy in this little book: Touching Stories and Issues.

Communications, they say, is an art which has many forms. Depending on the occasion or circumstance, people use one of these forms or a combination of them to process home their point or points. Fr. Martin has chosen his style and form to communicate his message as he celebrates the 25th Anniversary of his priestly ordination.

If you are wondering why he is sharing these experiences now in a story form, your guess is as good as mine. Let me speculate. At the age of 56 years, and having been professed for 34 years and ordained a priest for 25 years, Fr. Martin has had lots of experiences and has attained a level of stability that makes it possible for him to express his likes and dislikes without fear or favour to anyone – “Odighi agbazi ka odata ego.” He has a message and he is communicating it his own way.

There are some people who cannot laugh at anything no matter how funny or laughable the thing may be. That is their problem. Fr. Umunnakwe, alias Onye egbula onwe ya, is not one of them. He enjoys jokes and uses, them to draw important lessons. Take my advice: They say that jokes relax the facial muzzles which make one look younger than his/her age. Now you have one of the secrets why Fr. Martin Umunnakwe is looking younger than his age.

Fr. Martin’s messages are very powerful. For example, in the story of Abraham’s Visitor God wants us to put up with our neighbours as He is putting up with our shortcomings, sins and infidelities. In the Akara Woman story we are like akara-balls in God’s hand. He fries us through pains and trials until we are “ready to be served, first to the society/community and then unto Himself.” What of the August Meeting and the Omugwu stories? I am sure that you must have heard about “Division of Labour”, “Complementarity” and “Jealousy”. What name will you choose when you are due for title-taking? You think you do not need Indulgence – wait until you get over there, the other side and have the experience of the Dives. If you don’t know Dives is, the Disturbing Questions in the Bible deserve your attention. If I tell you everything in the book what will you discover for yourself? So, read the rest of the book to enjoy the jokes and the lessons or messages behind stories and jokes.

Fr. Martin, congratulations on your 25th Anniversary of priestly ordination. We thank the Good Lord for and with you for what he done for you and through to enrich the people he has placed under your care all these years. May his name be ever glorified. Amen. God willing, we shall rejoice with you on the 50th Anniversary of the same. Until then, may he continue to bless and guide you through Christ our Lord. Amen.

                Very Rev Fr. Prof Remy N Onyewuenyi C.S.Sp.

                                                                Caritas University

                                                                Amorji-Nike, Enugu

 

Behind Iron Bars

Companion and Compassion in Prison Ministry

– Chibuike Ojilere

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In ten brief chapters Chibuike Ojilere tells us about his experience as prison chaplain in the city and district of Iligan, Mindanao. He had no special training to be a chaplain, let alone “prison chaplain.” After a very brief pastoral experience he was thrown into this chaplaincy on the “swim or down” principle. Chibuike began to swim quite effectively.

At the very beginning he must have felt as “Alice in Wonderland” only to discover that what he encountered was nothing wonderful, on the contrary, he came face to face with a degree of human misery that stunts the and breaks the heart. This experience he wants to share in the hope that publication might contribute to improvement, and possibly, his experience might assist others who are ever called to join in this ministry.

As a consequence, he covers the whole waterfront from the abusive behaviour of the prison guards to the dehumanizing conditions of prison life; from the human rights violations of being thrown together as animals in a cage to being kept imprisoned endlessly without due process; from children who, for minor misdemeanors, are thrown in with adult criminals by whom they are often abused as persons and trained in criminal behaviours, to their desperate quest for protection and guidance.

Chibuike’s eyes wandered beyond the prison walls to the social structures that produce street children because of the parent’s imprisonment, to the breakdown of family life and structure because of prolonged and often unjust imprisonment, to the unconcern of civil authority despite clear prescriptions and regulations given by the United Nations and other international organizations. He wonders why such dehumanizing conditions can continue to exist as seemingly acceptable practices in a so-called civilized and Christian world. He makes effort to do something about all of the above.

Obviously, in the brief space he uses, there is no elaborate study on any of these subjects, but raising awareness is in itself already a huge step in the right direction. His reflections on human dignity and human needs in the light of the teaching of Jesus offer starting points for further study and development. I hope that this is only the beginning of further in depth studies in which scientific research, human sensitivity and deep pastoral concern blend into a oneness of approach that will be a guide and support to improve the system and which helps to restore the sense of human value in all clients. Then we can realize the call of Jesus: I was in prison and you came to visit me.

 

                                                                                                                                           Cornelius J. van der Poel, CSSp

                Former Professor of Pastoral Theology

Spiritan International School of Theology, Enugu, Nigeria

One Meal, One Globe

-Chibuike Ojilere

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“In this book, Father Ojilere studies the mystic spirituality of the Igbo igba oriko (communal ritual meal) as a possible model for a Eucharistic theology of global oneness “One Meal, One Globe.” This model would necessitate a shift from emphasis on the confection of the Eucharist to the building up of community, the Body of Christ, from individual communion with Christ to communal sharing in the paschal mystery, with its socio-political implications. The Eucharist is indeed meant to be “food for the world”. Father Ojilere has shown convincingly that a Eucharist theology patterned on the communal ritual meal of igba oriko will rejuvenate Eucharist celebration and practice and better draw out their role in universal reconciliation and world peace. The book is very well researched and written with passion….”

James Chukwuma Okoye, PhD.

Professor of Old Testament

Catholic Theological Union, Chicago

 

Chibuike Ojilere, a Nigerian-born Spiritan priest, is a theologian par excellence known for his zeal in making faith find home in culture. Hence, as an ardent lover of African tradition and culture, he passionately explores and respects the profound richness of every culture he encounters. This he has so much manifested in his years of missionary experience in Asia. He also authored Behind Iron Bars: Companion and Compassion in Prison Ministry;

 

Dear Youth, Live Well and Enjoy Life

 -Fr. James J. Kutav, CSSpdear youth

Dear Youth,

I love you. I am happy and proud to see you sowing the seed of happiness, progress and life. But I am also sad to see some of you sowing the seed of sorrow, stagnancy and destruction. Because of my love for you, I owe you responsibility to encourage you to follow and remain faithful to the way that leads to happiness, true love and life. I wish to also enlighten you about and discourage you from following the road that leads to sorrow, regret and destruction.

 

You mean so much for the world. Where is the world’s future without you? It is said that the young shall grow. Yes, they should grow not only physically, but above all, morally, spiritually, intellectually, socially and otherwise. Thus, they will become beneficiaries and instruments of peace, Happiness, love and progress.

Beloved youth, move on, if you are carrying these values! If you have made mistakes in the past or have been wounded, redress immediately and move on! It is not too late. Love life, live life, enjoy life and celebrate life with this in mind: Whatever you eat, drink, do or say, God will receive glory and humanity will be blessed. With this you will be happy, fulfilled and enjoy life now and forever.

Making Children Saints

-Fr. James J. Kutav, CSSp

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Do you know that every child is a potential saint? Do you know that, that child you think is bad and useless can become a saint if helped and guided rightly? How wonderful life will be if all our children become saints! What a beautiful and peaceful family and society we will have if our children are taught and encouraged to live and act saintly. Parents, and indeed the whole world will be happy and proud of a child who lives saintly or heroic life. Even if the child dies at the tender age, the legacy he/she will leave behind will certainly drown the sorrow of his/her demise and keep him/her forever in the heart of the people. Fortunately, parents with the help of God’s grace have all it takes to make their children saints.

There is no doubt that if children are helped to live saintly from their tender age, they will radiate holiness and goodness all the days of their life and hence be transformative agents in the world. When at tender age their eyes are made to fix on good things, their nose to smell holiness, their feet to follow the path of righteousness, their mouth to speak the truth always; their minds are filled with holy thoughts and their hearts are filled with the love for God and neighbour that leads to longing to do good and to avoid of evil, they will be wonderful people now and forever. What a blessing this will be to the world.

If we teach children to live and act rightly, we shall reduce a lot of problems they themselves may encounter and cause for the society now and later in their lifetime. We may not make the world a perfect place, but we have the potential to make it better every day.

It is out of a deep loving concern for the children that I have written this book. It is to make contribution in encouraging and helping adults( parents, teachers, religious, leaders, people of goodwill) to help our children become the best of what God wants them to be for their good and the good of the society.

The world would become better, happier and more peaceful place to live in not because of the presence of many rich people or much wealth. It is neither because of many intelligent people nor great technological advancement but because of the presence of holy, virtuous, loving and God-fearing people.

Let us teach them to give God absolute priority in their lives and to love all irrespective of family, tribe, nation, colour, race or religious background.

May God help us to religiously and passionately fulfil this mission! Amen.

 

Calling Adults to School

– Fr. Adam Bago, CSSp

 

“Calling Adults to School” Based on A Practical and Holistic Literacy Program of Our Lady of Fatima Parish (OLFP), IIigan City, Philippines. By Fr. Adam Bago C.S.Sp

“Life’s shining moment is when we do good things to the least, the last and the most among us without expecting them to remember our acts of love, mercy, kindness and compassion.” Fr. Rey

This beautiful work of Rev. Fr. Adam Bago C.S.Sp, Ph.D. on adult education gives a very clear picture of significance and the role played by adult education in today’s academic landscape. He believes that problems in society nowadays can be gradually eradicated if everybody understands adult education. He said that adult learners have different approaches to learning; they are more self-directed; they are more motivated and they have enough of life’s experiences to understand fully and transform themselves vis-à-vis the challenges of the times. Adult education embodies all the dimensions of personal development which empowers as they journey through life. Adults oftentimes make use of their experiences to solve problems and make life meaningful. Hence, classrooms in the higher education should be more relevant to the needs of mature students. Lifelong learning skills become a necessity to improve quality of life. Consequently, there is a need to support the adult literacy program where life transitions happen and adult make use of various opportunities as they face life and their careers. A successful adult education program paves the way for the country’s economic development and growth, incomes and livelihood, promoting peace and environmental awareness.

This book opens new possibilities for all depressed, deprived and underserved communities such as the research environment of the study. After carefully observing the dire needs of the people in that particular community, Fr. Bago made firm resolution to make a difference in the lives of the people not only through spiritual development but it embraced all of the aspects to live as fully human… physical, social, economic, emotional, intellectual, environmental and moral development.

This is bravery and fortitude in action done by foreigner to make the Filipinos enjoy a good quality of life. He firmly believes that education is the most effective way to social mobility wherein enjoyment of life’s blessings is the immediate aim.

Thank you dear Father for loving the Filipinos as your own. Florami B. Dadole, Ed.D.