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The Metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke has reiterated the relevance and importance of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the life of the Church; stressing that Priests and other anointed persons of God should be abreast of the various devotions to her to be able to guide the faithful properly in this respect.
Archbishop Okeke made these remarks in his welcome address to participants at the recently concluded National Seminar on Marian Devotion, held at St Mary’s pro-Cathedral Church, Efut-Abua, Calabar, Cross Rivers State. The theme of the seminar which was attended by over 130 delegates from all the Archdiocese and dioceses in the country was: 
Do Whatever He Tells You.
Noting that devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is an essential aspect of the Church’s prayer life, Archbishop Okeke stated that the faithful must be guided in this directive to able to do the devotion to Mary in the appropriate way. He however added that Priests and other consecrated persons who are expected to guide lay faithful in devotional prayers to Mary must have a good knowledge of Marian Devotions. His words: “ we expect that the shepherds of the flock, those in the priesthood should know how important devotion to Mary is to the priesthood”.
The three-day seminar was part of the programme for the 2017 Marian Year Celebrations directed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) at the end of the first plenary of the conference, held in Abuja, in February, this year. The host Archbishop, and Metropolitan of Calabar Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Joseph Ekuwem was represented at the programme by Monsignor Emmanuel UmoEtok.
The programme which began with the celebration of the Mass also featured group discussions, presentation of reports from groups, recitation of the Rosary and issuing an official statement. Presentations at the seminar were: Do Whatever He Tells You by Fr. Raymaria Umoh; The Relevance of the Message of Fatima Today, by Sr. Mary Doreen; Devotion to Mary and Ministerial Priesthood by Fr. Joe Aladejana and Consecration to Imaculate heart of Mary by Dr. John Anionye. The activities of the Marian Year Celebrations which have been on-going at diocesan and Provincial levels will culminate in the national grand finale in Benin City, in October, this year. The programme is being coordinated by the Department of Pastoral Affairs of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN).


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