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Women Should be Change Agents Against Harmful Traditional Practices on Widows

A cross section of widows from Lafia Denary

Women Should be Change Agents Against Harmful Traditional Practices on Widows

Women in Nigeria have been called upon to be the change agents in advocating against harmful traditional practices on widows.

Delivering a paper at a two day retreat for Catholic widows in the Lafia Denary (Nigeria), on “Never Alone”,the theme of this year’s International widow’s day,June 23, Joan Ogaegbunam said women should not keep quite when their husbands are maltreating other widows, as they themselves are also potential widows.

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Joan Ogaegbunam

Joan Ogaegbunam, also a widow,called on Catholic widows to visit new widows and to encourage them, as, “the best advice to widows can only come from widows who have experience.”   She added that widows need not only financial support, but emotional and psychological support as well.  “Widows are never alone and cannot be alone, as the heavenly Father, who is a Father of all, is always with them.

Reading from the scripture, Isaiah Chapter 41 verse 10, and Chapter 49, verses 14 to 16, and Psalm 23, she buttressed the point that God is always with widows and is never tired of their demands.

In his welcome remarks, Reverend Father, James Adamu,  Parish Priest of Maria Assumpta, Catholic Mission, Lafia whose parish hosted the retreat, said many do not understand that widows go through emotional difficulties and that their children do not understand them either especially when they want to remarry.

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Reverend Father, James Adamu, Parish Priest of Maria Assumpta, Catholic Mission, Lafia

Citing the many difficulties of widows including remarriage, payment of their children’s school feesetc, he called for understanding by the society and the children of widows, when the need arises for them to remarry.

This year’s widowsday celebration coincided with the commemoration of the “Sacred Heart of Jesus”, so he assured the widows that God is with them and God loves them, adding that God is love and the love of God is for all.

Father James Adamu promised that the Denarywill do more done for widows and added that the monthly meeting of widows introduced by the Catholic Church is to enable them to encourage one another.

The Chaplain of widows in the Lafia Denary, Reverend Jeremiah Bature, said the Retreat which is the first of its kind in the Denary is to bring all the widows together under one umbrella, to encourage those who have not registered in their various parishes widows Association to do so and for evangelization.

Rev. Jeremiah said the event will now be rotated yearly by various parishes.
The Chaplain of widows in the Lafia Denary, Reverend Jeremiah Bature

In her remarks, the Chairperson of Catholic widows of Lafia Denary, Veronica Ogbole appreciated the Catholic Denary of Lafia for organizing the retreat for widows and called on the Catholic Church, members of the widows Association who are privileged and Non Government Organizations, NGOs to assist the Association build the skills of widows who do not have the skills to earn a living, and give soft loans to them.

She called on members of the widows Association to also be proactive and bring out strategies that will move the Association forward instead of waiting for the yearly handouts from parishioners.

The 2 day event had papers and talks delivered on the theme of the 2017 commemoration, “Never Alone”, “ who is a Christian widow”, “challenges faced by widows and orphans”, praise and worship, fasting and prayer session and group work”.

During the group work session, the widows shared experiences and encouraged one another; over 80 widows from 6 parishes in the Lafia Denary attended the 2 days retreat.

International Widows’ Day, June 23 was introduced to address poverty and injustice faced by widows and their children throughout the world.  Officially recognized by the United Nations, June 23 was initiated by the Loomba Foundation in 2005 and set aside to create awareness on the plight of widows and to sensitize the public of the misery faced by widows worldwide.

Veronica Ogbole / Lafia, Nigeria