The Catholic Church of Idah Diocese belongs to the Universal communion of the Roman Catholic rites in union with the Holy See. It is one of the over Fourty-Nine dioceses of the Catholic Church in Nigeria. It is located in Central Nigeria, sometimes called the Middle Belt within the present State of Kogi. She carries out her mission among the minority ethnic Igala and Bassa groups. The population of the area is about 2.5 million, with a fast growing rate of 3.1 percentage growth rate. It is a land naturally endowed but socio-economically disadvantaged and vastly rural. The people are admirable, amiable, hardworking, courageous, and brave people. Here the people are united by a major linguistic patrimony commonly sharing the Igala language. Other groups inhabiting and languages spoken in the area are the Bassa Komo, Bassa Nge (Gwari, Nupe family), and Igbo on the Southern fringes of the area bothering Nsukka and the Ika Igbo (around the Niger riverline boundaries). Varying religious expressions that includes Christianity, Islam, and the Igala Traditional Religion features within this geo-political space. Many adherents of these diverse religious and spiritual heritages live peacefully worshipping God. Among the Christians are Catholics, Pentecostals, Mainstream "Protestant" groups, and Indigenous Christian movements. muslims and African traditional religious worshippers. The Catholic Faith is relative young in Idah Diocese. The faith was first implanted in 1902 when the Rev. Fr. Joseph Lichtenberger, a Spiritan priests first came to Dekina, a town inland from the confluence of the Niger and Benue. Among members of this mission was the legendary and great Irish missionary priest to Nigeria and Kenya, the later Bishop Joseph Shanahan, who consecrated his life to the proclamation of the gospel as a missionary in Africa. This initial mission could be considered a failure as the missionaries withdrew, only to resurface again in 1934 to nurture the Catholic faith in the area. Since then the church has remained and bloomed vivaciously. Following the great efforts of European missionaries from Germany, Ireland and even the U.K and more significantly from Canada in North America, a flourishing foundation of the faith was concretized. In 1968 the Perfecture of Idah, was created under an Apostolic Perfecture, a Canadian missionary, the Late Msgr. Leopold Grimard heading. In December, 1977, it was erected as the Diocese of Idah. The Auxiliary Bishop of Ikot Ekpene, Bishop Eprhaim Silas Obot, was appointed as first bishop. He was subsequently installed as the first diocesan Bishop in April, 1978. His creativity and ingenuity led to the creation of new and exciting ministriies, with spiritual activities, and active social engagement pursued vigourously. With a mere five indigenous priests in 1978, today there is now an annual average of six priestly ordinations. Today, the number of priests and religious personnels have increased geometrically. Together with the priests and religious personnels, volunters and a vibrant laity; prayerful and devoted a lot has been achieved in so short a time. However, more is now being done, while more can still be done. Finance is however the bane of our major problems in the face of a delabitated national socio-economic order. One of the projects that is involved in helping is the Project-Golf (an arm of the Diocesan Development Services) aimed at providing help to the underprivileged and the poor of the society through providing social services, and to protect and enhance the value of life at every stage.
Our missions are both spiritual and also material in terms of social engagement. We are a rural and poor diocese with enormous needs and projects to address but limited funding to enforce. Our cry is for help to be useful in our missions. You can help us to 1. Train our priests and Catechiests (It costs $550 dollars a year to train a seminarian who is preparing to be a priest less than $50.00 a month (it takes almost a decade to train a seminarian in the Seminary- just about $5,550.00 for ten years). Training priests would help us reach out in love to more people in our communities. Catechiests are pastoral associates and collaborators of priests in their mission to reach out to smaller communities of faith. It costs $300 to maintain a Catechist a year. 2. The Catholic Women Organization has a project similar to Project-Rachel( in some dioceses in the US) to help educate young women and their family on how to protect the lives of children from unwanted pregnacies from been aborted and destroyed. They are engaged in community education across the breadth of our diocese. They also offer homes for such young mothers, vocational training and adoption programs. They also need fund. You can be involved in the preservation of a life today! 3.Project-Golf is the supervising project for monitoring, supervising and implementing the charitable programs of the diocese by direct help to individuals and communities where poverty and subhuman situation undermines the dignity of the human person.It takes a total about $5,000.00 in budget to maintain such an outfit per annum. WHY DON'T YOU HELP A POOR PERSON TODAY, THEIR CRIES OF PAIN IS A RIPPLE THAT SHOULD STIR OUR EMOTION! 4. If you are moved in anyway to help in these mission we would appreciate any donations. We would appreciate your contributions as you read about us.We need you to reach out in love to those in need. Sometimes what we in the West consider as insignificant can bring lots of joy to many people across the world. Brighten a life,brighten a face! If you want to be of assistance you can make a check payable to the Project-Golf (Diocese of Idah) and mark what you want it used. You can mail directly to Bishop Ephraim Silas Obot, Catholic Secretariat (Chancery) P.O. Box 55 Idah, Kogi State Nigeria (011-USA) 234-58-800134/800557 outside the US +234-058-800134/800557 Inquiries and emails could also be directed to Rev. Fr. Anthony Agbali USA- firstname.lastname@example.org PASTORAL AND PASTORAL CENTER BUILDING PROJECT: As a Church our primary purpose is evangelization. We pursue this with vigour. However, the pursuance of this mission is contigent upon a lot of material factors. One of these is a moderately furnished facility to host activities such as Retreats, meetings, seminars, conferences and to facilitate Pastoral activities. We have been praying to have the opportunity to begin such a faiclity to help members of our congregation fulfil their spiritual tasks of a venue for prayer and conferences. God is answering our prayers and we are making progress. At present therefore we are beginning this project-long overdue- of building a Pastoral and Retreat Center. This facility a center of prayer and evangelization activities would consist of fifty rooms and its building is divided into two significant phases depending on availability of fund. As a rural struggling diocese in the heartland of poverty it is really difficult to finance such a venture. However, we rely on divine providence and the charity of people, organizations and groups- those we know and those unknown- to give us a leap. The total cost of this project spanning from 1999-2002 amounts to $385,000.00. The first phase costs $200,000.00 while the second phase amounts to $185,000.00. For us this is a high amount but we know that touched by the spirit nothing is really impossible and that God uses his agents, his people to always help his own mission. In this light we do hope and pray that as you read this page that you would be touched by God's spirit to support this project out of love for the spread of the gospel and the mission of the Church in reaching out to the world in love. Please if you want to make a donation to this Project please make a Check to Bishop Ephraim Silas Obot directly at Catholic Diocese of Idah, P.O. Box 55, Idah, Kogi State, Nigeria (011-234-58-800557/800134) or the Idah Diocesan Project and Development Representative- Rev. Fr. Anthony A. Agbali, Please postmark all correspondences with "Idah Pastoral Center Project." May God bless you as you read and give.
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