On April 10th, 2019, the Worthy Supreme knight accompanied by the Worthy Deputy Supreme Knight, Worthy Supreme Secretary, Worthy Supreme Treasurer, Worthy Supreme Warden, Worthy Supreme PRO, Worthy MGK Owerri, some Owerri metro officers and the CGK of Owerri paid a courtesy visit to the Archbishop of Owerri, His Grace, Most Rev. Anthony J. V. Obinna. It was a particularly rewarding visit as His Grace paid special compliments to KSM. He was very effusive in his appreciation of Brothers and Sisters of the Order. Well done WSK, Very well done Brothers.
Below is the Worthy Supreme Knight's address:
AN ADDRESS BY THE WORTHY SUPREME KNIGHT OF THE KNIGHTS OF SAINT MULUMBA NIGERIA, SIR DIAMOND OVUERAYE KSM, TO THE METROPOLITAN ARCHBISHOP OF OWERRI, HIS GRACE, MOST REVEREND ANTHONY JOHN VALENTINE OBINNA ON THE OCCASION OF A COURTESY VISIT OF THE KNIGHTS OF SAINT MULUMBA NIGERIA. – APRIL 10, 2019
Let me at the outset; congratulate you for your outstanding leadership and a spiritually enriching and fruitful laden service these past forty seven years as a Priest. For indeed, it was on the 9th of April, 1972 that you were ordained and have never looked back in your harvest of many ‘’firsts’’ that have trailed your ministry. We say congratulations and happy Priestly anniversary.
My colleagues and I have earnestly looked forward to this visit, to a city we call home and to an Archdiocese that is deeply woven into our history. Your Grace, it was the then Bishop of Owerri Diocese, Bishop Joseph Whelan, C.S. Sp. who encouraged our Founder, Rev. Fr. Abraham Anselm Isidahome Ojefua to travel abroad to understudy the Constitution and workings of the Knights of Columbus, Columba and Columbanus, with a view to establishing same Order here in Nigeria. As we can see, this then ‘’mustard seed’’ has astronomically grown, greatly impacting the society by evangelization and touching lives by its charity.
We recall also that among the first twenty three members that were initiated into the Order here in Owerri at the Holy Ghost College in 1953, one of the only three Priests among them is your predecessor Bishop, Bishop Mark Onwuha Unegbu. So, Your Grace, our excitement derives not only from our very rich and eventful history of engagement with the Owerri diocese, but also the huge support which the Order enjoys under your watch. As my colleagues will add, ‘’it didn’t start today.’’
We have watched closely, and I must admit, with great admiration, your uncommon devotion, untiring and unsparing effort in ensuring growth in parishes – from 50 in 1993 when you took over to 170 now, training of Priests – 53 Priests on study leave abroad, increased evangelization efforts, rebuilding dilapidated schools returned to the Archdiocese by the Imo State Government, rehabilitation of the Archdiocesan health care services, modernization of existing structures, and most notably, the institution of the Odenigbo lecture series in 1996, as a vehicle to promote evangelization, using eminent Igbo scholars to welcome the Good news of salvation into the intimacy of the lives of Ndigbo and their culture by preaching against obnoxious cultural practices like Osu/ Diala/ Ohu discrimination.
The Knights of Saint Mulumba, in keeping with its objective of bringing Catholics together in a fraternal association for the good and progress of the Church, welfare of its clergy, well-being of members of the Order and Nigerians in general, have been challenged more than ever before, on account of the great challenges and leadership failings in our dear country. We have found great strength in the leadership of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, who have become the moral compass of Nigeria, standing with the people, as our country grapples with systemic injustice, nepotism, mindless ethno-religious killing, un-abating corruption, and other social malaise that currently confront us as a nation.
It’s been a little over a year since the current leadership of KSM was elected. We have hit the ground running in our avowed desire to better the offices we have inherited. We are committed to improving the spirituality of Brothers and Sisters, discipline in the Order, brotherhood and fraternity, to make the KSM voice heard in matters concerning our country, to forge closer relationship with the CBCN, its Bishops and clergy, and to continue to be a bulwark of support to the Church. We have also ventured into investment and new business lines, with a view to solidifying our income streams, critical to our work of charity. We are praying that God crowns our effort with success.
Your Grace, I will not end my address without reassuring you of the support of KSM members at all times. We need the Church to be strong, we need it to continue to be the voice of the voiceless, the untainted moral and spiritual authority for us all. As a moral theologian, you have confronted oppressive regimes in the state, both military and civilian and remained a strong advocate for democracy and good governance. These are attributes we strongly subscribe to and pray that our good Lord will continue to send to his vineyard men of candour and valour.
On a rather sad note, we condole with you, Your Grace on the recent death of two of your Priests in the Archdiocese (in February and March) – Rev Fr. Columba Ibe and Msgr. Prof. Innocent Onyewuenyi. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace, Amen.
Sir Diamond Ovueraye, KSM