“From time immemorial, your ancestors lived beyond the River and I led them through the length and breadth of the land” (cf. Joshua 24:2-3).
Speaking on the memory and hope of Christians during the morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Vatican City (May 15, 2014), Pope Francis introduced his remarks, saying: “It is interesting that when the Apostles proclaim Jesus Christ they never begin with him”, saying for example: “Jesus Christ is the Saviour (though this is what they are proclaiming but they would gradually lead the people to it). Rather, the Apostles introduce their testimony by presenting “the history of the people.” We see it in the passage from the Acts of the Apostles (13:13-25), which recounts St. Paul’s testimony in Antioch of Pisidia. Yet, “Peter does the same in his first discourses and Stephen also did likewise. Thus, when the Apostles are asked why do you believe in this man?”, they begin to speak about Abraham and the whole history of the people. The reason for this attitude is clear, the Pope said. “We cannot understand Jesus without this history. Jesus is precisely the final end towards which this history moves and journeys.” The people journey toward the final promise and toward its fullness; that is why a “Christian in the Church is a man, a woman, with hope. He or she has hope in the promise. It is a hope forward which does not disappoint. Thus, in “looking back the Christian is a person who remembers” (memorioso); he always asks for the grace to remember. Amid memory and hope, “in the present a Christian follows the path of God and renews the covenant with God ... the covenant we celebrate every day on the altar.”
Thus, in recounting the history and origins of Catholicism of the hometown of Father Oborji, we intend to put ourselves in the habit of asking for the grace to remember the beginning of the journey of our salvation and what the people of God before us have made to bequeath us the faith we are celebrating today. It is the grace to renew each day our covenant with the Lord who has called us; the grace which is necessary for our Christian identity and hope.