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FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DOMINANT PRESENCE OF ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN ODOZOR

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FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DOMINANT PRESENCE OF ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN ODOZOR

 

ABSTRACT

The subject of study is the dominant presence of Roman Catholic Church in Odozor; the desire to undertake this study is motivated by the curiosity to understand the factor for the dominant presence of Roman Catholic in Odozor. In carrying out this study, simple random sampling was used to select five towns from the study area. The Five towns which constitute the population of study are Ebe, Abor, Awhum Okpatu and Umulumgbe. The researcher made use of primary and secondary sources in data collections. The review of literature revealed some dependable variable which formed the theoretical framework for the study. The data and peculiarities of missionary enterprises in Odozor was analyzed and interpreted. Based on this frame work, the following findings were made; that, the dominant presence of the Roman Catholic church in Odozor is due to the domineering influence of local chiefs and political heads. Other factors are the evangelical zeal of early converts and lay agents, mode of baptism and the Roman Catholic Church enculturation process also remains in factor. As a result the researcher therefore recommends that laity participation in evangelism should be encouraged. Secondly is that Christian denomination should adopt an enabling policy towards positioning African Christianity into African world view. Finally, rigorous subjection is not necessary for the eternal salvation of soul.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Christian religion has come a long way with the first missionary station at Badagry in 1842. In 1857, the church missionary society established the first mission church at Onitsha under the leadership of Rev. Henry Townsend. From Onitsha, the gospel started its slow but steady journey into the interior. The C.M.S established a station at Enugu Ngwo in 1912. The visit of Rev. Isaac Uzowulu to Ngwo triggered off an expansionist sprit among the missionaries This itinerant evangelist embarked on house to house evangelism and established a station at Umuabi, Udi and Okpatu. From the station at Okpatu a mission station was found in Umulumgbe in 1936. In an interview with Elder Amadi of Eke,Town, he said that “Udi area witnessed missionary scramble in the second decade of the 20th Century”.

This pioneer position gave the Church missionary society added advantages. During this period many communities were desirous to open up C.M.S mission station in their communities. In the face of the increasing demand for mission contact, the Holy Ghost Congregation of the Roman Catholic mission emerged on the scene. Ilogu (1974) pointed out that 1885 witnessed the emergence of the Holy Ghost Congregation of the Roman Catholic Church in Igbo land. The entrance of Roman Catholic mission in Igbo land compelled missionary drive into the interior. This drive led to missionary rivalry in their adoption of apostolic policies. Ekeche pointed out that the Roman Catholic explored the interior through the creeks, from Aguleri, to Olo, Achalla, Owa and Oghe to Eke in 1914. Rev Fr. Aloysee Muller opened up a mission station at Eke with Mr. Ikem peter as the poiner teacher. From Eke, like the biblical mustered seed the church spread as far as Nsukka, Ogaja and Makurdi to the North, Ebenebe and Ida.

From the above description, we can have a fair picture of the enormous apostolic activities of the pioneer missionaries of Eke. By 1889, Eke mission station has gave birth to five town parishes of Ebe, Abor, Ukana, Okpatu and Umulumgbe and constitutes mainly Roman Catholic population.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The Church Missionary Society and the Roman Catholic Church are two major actors in mission evangelism in Igboland. As early as 1912. The presence of the C.M.S. was established at Enugu Ngwo and Udi area respectively. In spite of this early development the people of Odozor are dominantly Roman Catholics when compared to other areas in Udi Local Government Council Area. This raises a number of questions such as:

(a) What are the factors for the sudden twist of events in the C.M.S.
evangelizing mission?

(b) Can this sudden twist be attributed to method, charisma, strategies employed, and political influence of the local chiefs or inadequacy of trained local agents and laity groups?

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The urge to undertake this study is to look into some distinctive religious and ecclesiastical issues of the various Christian missionary enterprises in Odozor Local Government Development Council with the view to find out the factors for the dominant presence of Roman Catholic Church adherents viz-a- viz other areas in Udi Local Government Area Council.

1.4 Scope of the Study

The study area is Odo-Ozor Local Government Development Council. The council is made up of the following towns: Ebe, Abor, Ukana, Awhum, Okpatu, Umulumgbe, Umuoka and Ukehe. These towns share
common paternal, socio-cultural and religious tie. Due to the congenial nature of the study area, a selective random area was undertaken. The representative study areas are Ebe, Okpatu, Awhum, Umulumgbe and Abor.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The response of OdoOzo people towards various Christian missionary endeavors is of great significant. An expository view at the above will help to clarify missionary enterprise in the area. Also the study stands to offer an insight into the level of commitment of the various missionaries in carrying out their primary assignment. It equally stands to contribute to scholarship on the faith ideology of the people of OdoOzor Missionary evangelism. The research finding could be used to draw conclusion on the enduring strategies in faith propagation. Finally it stands to correct the misinterpretation of the past with the view to improving the present situation and achieving a balanced view of activities in Odo-Ozor Local Government Development council.

1.6 Methodology

The nature of the research demands a multi-dimensional approach. The researcher made use of Historical and analytical approach. The nature of the study compels this study to rely more on primary sources. Under this approach interview guidelines were designed so that discussion will be focused on the content specified in the research objective. However; based on the relative criticism of the interview method, the research variable made the researcher to feel strongly that any method that would promote anonymity would yield reliable result. For this reason question were framed to cover people response, missionary strategies and factors for the dominant presence of Roman Catholic Church in Odo-Ozor.

The questions were both closed and open ended to enable respondents less bored and unable to suppress or distort basic response to the question. The researcher also made use of group discussion method. A key topic on Christian Missionary enterprise in Odo-Ozor was raised and expressed views of discussants made useful information for this study. The discussants include Traditional rulers, Academicians and clergy men who represented their interest groups and callings.

The researcher also made use of secondary sources in data collection and in the evaluation related literature on the topic of study, documented materials such as text books, journals; magazines unpublished works were also used. On the basis of logical evidence, the researcher applied logical reasoning to arrive at conclusions.

1.7 Definition of Terms

For clarification of terms, the following terms used there need to be explained in the context of their usage.

Traditionalist: These refer to people that practice or the adherents of Africa traditional religion.

Warrant chiefs: These are class of people mandated by the colonial masters to exercise political, social and economic influence on the people living in a geographical area. Their mandate was necessary because of the absence of organized political structure in Igboland.

Response: This is the level of the Peoples acceptance of specific missionary stimuli.

Christian missionaries: This refers to the group of people who go out to propagate the Christian faith to non- members.

Missionary work: This is used to refer to those activities designed to affect the expansion of the church among men and beyond its boundaries.

Mission: The sending out of religious teachers to convert people by
preaching.

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