– Ehusani: Faith Merchant as activistTHISDAYLIVE

editorMarch 12, 2022 4:16 a.m.

UPDATING ELUCIDATIONS BY OKEY IKECHUKWU

He once banned a governor from entering his church because the governor had violated the lateness rule. He was later to calmly explain that the rules were clear from the start, that they were repeatedly explained to everyone, and that his homilies were usually not interrupted by the movement, due to delays. Rev It has always been

uncompromising in understanding his role as a priest, the tradition of exemplary behavior that had taken root in his parish, and why he should be seen as one who served the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth. The implication, and one which Ehusani has always maintained without any pretense or air, is that the validity and influence of earthly authority does not extend to his parish where he answers to another.

Let’s just say that the governor in question never showed up late to his church afterward. Note also that state officials and other dignitaries do not enter his homily with weapons and security details. Not for him, ostensibly standing in corners and pacing worshipers brandishing firearms from CSOs and similar personnel from the high and mighty in society. This is what you find in his church, located in Asokoro, Abuja.

At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, the Lux Terra family under his leadership devised a method for members to register before each Sunday service. Enrollment, and particularly the time of enrollment, made you eligible or ineligible for worship; given the limited number of places. It was always on a first come, first served basis. Thus, everyone in this parish internalized Ehusani’s pragmatic approach to his pastoral duties. But it’s a pragmatic approach that isn’t brash, offensive, or designed to garner attention or applause. The man is just doing his job as he understands it, and as a determined servant who is dedicated to helping nurture a better humanity, inside and outside the church.

Reverend Ehusani’s activities, through the Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, cover inter-religious harmony, leadership development and mentoring, providing guidance to school prefects and teachers and leading national development dialogues on various public platforms. He’s the man you need. Energetic, dedicated, self-effacing, and always unwilling to let evil escape unchallenged wherever it finds it. He would travel anywhere in Nigeria “in the performance of his duties”.

At the height of the Naira Marley challenge to values ​​and propriety among our youth, Ehusani was on hand to organize a program for students at Regina Caeli Secondary School, among others, in Abuja. I was his guest resource teacher at the event. He was so concerned about the penetration and impact of the threat in our schools, including the discovery, then, that approximately 70% of the students at a particular school were confirmed “Marlians”, that he also organized a training program for members of his school. Parish, for which he hired an organization with a solid record on effective parenting, mentorship and appropriate youth development. The program, titled “How to Take Your Children Back from the Marlians” was a resounding success and was of great help to the parents who attended. I still look back with joy and relief on our recent joint engagement in Enugu, where approximately 140 teachers from Christ the King College (CIC) underwent a hands-on training program on contemporary youth issues in the 21st century and mentoring young people. teachers in an increasingly confusing world.

Today, this reverend gentleman is launching a book entitled “Between faith and social activism”. It’s one of seven books, in what he called a “Maiden Book Festival.” The other six books, constituting the septuplets so to speak, are: (1) Nigeria: More Years Eaten by the Locusts. (2) The challenge of the Gospel: 30 years of Christian social teaching. (3) Conversion to Christ. (4) Grow in Christ. (5) Sunday homilies (year A). (6) Sunday homilies (year B). (7) Sunday homilies (year C). Readers may wish to access and read these works of the reverend gentleman, while I deal with the x-raying of the first of seven books, which is actually a collection of essays on the priest by many reputable people who have got to know him over the years and who see him as an example of how anyone who claims to serve the Almighty in the church should do their job.

This is what Professor Jideofor Adibe said about Father George in the foreword to the book, which was edited by the following four distinguished personalities (1) Taiwo Abioye, (2) Arua Eke Arua, (3 ) Anthony Okeregbe and (4) Emmanuel Ojeifo: “As I learned more about Fr. Ehusani – from his book, his lectures, his television programs and his social commitment – he reminded me more liberation theology. which was rooted in priests, especially Catholic clergy in Latin America, consciously taking the side of the poor, the voiceless and the oppressed, while not abandoning their vocation as priests. What Adibe probably should have added is that in addition to homilies, television programs and other social engagements, Father George also actively deploys music and the skillful use of musical instruments to propagate some of his uplifting offers.

The brilliant Profile of the Priest by Taiwo Abioye is part of the first chapter, also by the author of the Profile, in this 13-chapter book which is a true credit to all contributors. The title of this first chapter is sufficiently striking on its own: “Imagery and Dialectics: A Priest’s Civic Engagements from the Pulpit”. The essence of the second chapter, which gives us a philosophical assessment of George Ehusani’s “African Christian humanism”, is summed up as follows: “…humanistic principles, such as universal human dignity, individual liberty, rational pursuit , consciousness and the importance of happiness are consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ and are essential elements.

The third chapter is more than interesting in its subject. Drawing our attention to Ehusani’s music as a tool for social engineering and didactic Christian interventions, this chapter looks beyond the aesthetic appeal of the sounds and lyrics of his music, to its impact on human life. inner man as balm for the soul. It presents the liturgical value and purposes of the reverend gentleman’s music, beyond the fact that he is a multi-instrumentalist, and also beyond the fact that he is a man who also loves his own musical interpretations. The relationship between this chapter and the next, which is “An Explanatory Analysis of the Human Person and Human Dignity in George Ehusani’s Christian Humanism”, can be seen in the fact that the gap between and an honest existentialist assessment of the impact of the music as it is deployed by Ehusani and the humanistic implications of the overall conceptual framework of his efforts are tenuous.

Chapters five and six take us into the nuances of pastoral care for secondary traumatic stress, with a focus on potential risk factors in Catholic priests and a critical look at Ehusani’s “prophetic imagination”, respectively. These are followed by a chapter seven which says, in the words of Ehusani regarding the role of the priesthood in the face of Nigeria’s failing promise: “The prophets are visionaries of their time. When all others are blind prophets, they are granted to see the handwriting on the wall, to interpret the signs of the times, and to see the light beyond the tunnel. Endowed with superior knowledge and perception, the prophets analyze the situation on the ground in the light of the common good and in the light of the wisdom and commandments of God. Prophets refuse to be defined by the corruption of the moment; they refuse to be swallowed up by the darkness of the surrounding environment.

In chapter eight of this academically compelling book, titled “Peacebuilding and the Imperative of Ongoing Interreligious Dialogue and Conflict Management,” we see the value of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. We also see there the irreplaceable role of Father George. citing the work of author Song, we are told, rightly I dare say: “The interaction between majority and minority religious, ethnic, social and political groups highlights the interconnectedness between majority and minority groups “, which has implications for cultural conflict. We are further told here that “a deliberative approach to particular cultural (social and political) dilemmas has several advantages over other approaches that give or do not give any role to the participation of those affected by the dilemmas in question. “.

Chapter nine, titled “A Critical Appraisal of Social Activism in the Writings of George Ehusani”, presents the latter’s “subjective assessment” of various discursive issues, as shown in his writings, as indicative of his “attempt to challenge various vices that have so far hampered the growth and development of Nigeria. Captured here under our national problems, as seen by Father Ehusani, are: (1) The quagmire of leadership and the challenge of governance, (2) A distorted electoral process and socio-political instability, (3) The quest for social mobilization and lack of patriotic responsibility and (4) religious hypocrisy. This chapter is aptly followed by Chapter Ten, titled “Psychological Healing as a Panacea for Societal and Psychological Distress in Nigeria”, in which specific remedial interventions are also mentioned.

Chapter Eleven is above all a well-deserved tribute to Reverend Ehusani’s “numerical orientation” in his chosen line of work. After emphasizing that we live in a dynamic world with serious technological advances, and after saying that “bishops and superiors should allow and encourage priests to use traditional and social media to purge secular society of all its ills, the chapter thus states, “It was in this context that Father George Omaku Ehusani broke with all erstwhile resistance to the use of the media, becoming a seasoned communicator and friend of the media in Nigeria.”

Chapters twelve and thirteen, titled “Truth Through the Lens of the Trilogy: The Poems of George Ehusani” and “The Reverend George Ehusani: The Torchbearer”, respectively, focus on his poetic works and his loyalty to his field of work chosen at different levels. . All told, these final chapters connect very well with the early sections of the book, for a man who is true to himself and his conscience in everything he does. The afterword, at the end of the book, tells the truth about this priest who works with his heart: “Father George, you are truly appreciated and loved. So say the friends of this merchant of faith and activist.

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