Praying for Christ’s Kingdom on Earth, as Bigard Family Celebrates 2015 Solemnity of Christ the King in styles

The universal church yet again observes the very important annual celebration of the solemnity of Christ the King; a celebration which renews in Christ’s faithful, the remedial purpose of its establishment. Pope Pius XI established the Feast of Christ the King in his 1925 encyclical letter Quas Primas, and stipulated its celebration on the last Sunday of the month of October – the Sunday which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints.

Pope Pius XI titled the feast “Jesu Christi Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ the King)

In his 1969 motu proprio, Mysterii Paschalis, Pope Paul VI gave the celebration a new title: “Jesu Christi universorum Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe). He also gave it a new date: the last Sunday in the liturgical year, before a new year begins with the First Sunday in Advent. Through this choice of date, the eschatological importance of this Sunday is made clearer, in this light; it was changed from being a feast to a Solemnity.

This Sunday reserves some eschatological importance because it marks the end to a new beginning in the Church’s Liturgical Year, where Christ in his first coming is being celebrated as the king of kings, and his second coming awaited.

Christians are admonished on the Solemnity of Christ the King, always to pray for the Kingdom of Christ in their lives as is prescribed in the Lord’s Prayer, Thy Kingdom Come.

The Bigard family, in union with the universal church, celebrated this great feast of proclaiming Christ’s supremacy over all things. The celebration of Sunday, 22nd November 2015 was indeed a glamorous one, as Bigard community in communion with the Church, proclaims Christ to the world as the King of kings, and in faith awaits his second coming.

The occasion of the day which started with a Holy Mass and followed by a joyous procession along the streets of Bigard, saw to the traditional adorning outlook of the Bigard Chapel, decorated with white and gold, and filled to the brim with the formators, seminarians, lay staff, faithful of Holy Family Bigard Chaplaincy, and visitors from outside the seminary.

In his Introductory note to the Holy Mass of the day, the Rector, Very. Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Okechukwu Ikpenwa, who is also the Principal Celebrant, invited the Christ’s faithful to reflect on the message of the day’s celebration. In his words:

“The Solemnity of the Christ the King entails Celebrating Christ who is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the author and controller of all things. We, the faithful, therefore, gather in faith to pay homage to Christ our Lord, and to him belongs all glory and Power, forever and ever. Amen” In his enriching and heart stirring homily which revealed that Christ as a King has featured some cultural misapprehensions as a result of linguistic differences, Fr. Albert Ikpenwa acclaimed that our worship of God and our proclamation of Christ’s mission can only be made clear through human language, and therefore the literally linguistic approach to our worship of God should not take primacy over the actual reverence of God.

Hence, the idea of giving Christ the attribute of a King is to clearly demonstrate his supremacy over all earthly kingdoms, and his authority over everything that exists.

Thus, he explained that human kingdoms ravaged by violence, apathy, lawlessness, war, anarchy, terrorism and dismay should adopt the nature of Christ’s Kingdom which upholds love, unity, peace, brotherhood and humility.

Finally, Fr. Ikpenwa admonished the seminarians and the other people of God to always take cognizance of two important issues: acknowledging Christ as king and acknowledging Christ as one’s king, and then living by the latter, so as to be in line with the prescripts of Christ’s Kingdom, where peace and love abide. At the end of the mass, Rev. Fr. Dr. Ohajuobodo Oko, on behalf of the Bigard family, rendered a hearty vote of thanks to all present, and to all those who saw to the progress of the celebration.

The second phase of the Christ the King celebration was the festive and grand procession, which visibly signified the proclamation of Christ as the King who rules with justice and fairness. In the majestic procession, the Blessed Sacrament was carried along the streets of the seminary, where Christ the king of kings was veneration, amidst great jubilation as the seminarians and visitors joyfully proclaimed Christ to the whole world as the universal king with gunshots, drums and dancing.

The procession which lasted for about an hour ended in the chapel where Seminarians and other faithful who were present were greatly edified when the popular Igbo acclamation onye bu Eze? was chanted by the Seminary Music Director, Rev. Fr. Dr. Cletus Umezinwa. This was followed immediately by the benediction, after which all went home in joy, announcing the supremacy of Christ as the King of all.

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