• follow us in feedly

Adeboye prays for Buhari ahead 2019 election

By Olawale Abdul-fatah with Agency report

Ahead of the 2019 election, Wife of the General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Folu Adeboye, led thousands of worshipers to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari, and his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for success at the polls

During the prayer session that lasted for hours, the pastor and the congregation further prayed for others in authority, seeking God’s protection and wisdom to direct affairs of Nigeria.

As the prayer session lasted, Adeboye thanked God for his unmerited favours upon the nation and to continue to defend the country, saying, Nigerians should continuously pray for God’s protection against those truncating the country’s peace and harmony.

She urged Christians to pray for peace and harmony of the nation, especially as the nation was preparing for the forthcoming general elections.

The special prayer for the nation was held yesterday at the 17th Annual Abuja Special Holy Ghost Service at RCCG Camp, in Nassarawa State.

According to her, O God, intervene and direct the government to make policies that will benefit your people and our nation. And you, Prince of Peace, please let your peace reign in Nigeria. Arise oh Lord and defend Nigeria.

She prophesied that Nigeria would arise again to glory and honour for other nations to see.

Mummy G.O. enjoined Christians to pray to God for forgiveness of sins that had befallen the nation and to have His mercies on the people.

“We plead for the forgiveness of ancestral sins, idolatry, murder, stealing, greed, selfishness and other sins that might be working against our progress as a nation; we ask for forgiveness in all realms for our nation.

“Imbibe in us the spirit of the fear of God in all our undertakings as leaders and citizens of this nation and let Nigeria be God’s own nation with peace, progress and prosperity in Jesus mighty name,” she added.

Earlier, Coordinator of Northern Region of the Church, Ezekiel Odeyemi, urged Nigerians to always be grateful to God for His protection upon their lives because they were His divine choice.

According to Odeyemi, Nigerians must continue to thank God for His preservation and purpose upon the nation because “Nigeria is a divine choice of God.

“Therefore, our destiny depends upon whether we live in harmony with God, follow His moral teachings. It is our responsibility to decide our destiny to find our inspiration to live righteously to be God’s divine choice,” he said.

Odeyemi encouraged Christians to see themselves as chosen of God even when they were going through helpless situations.

Pope Francis declares murdered El Salvador’s Archbishop Romero Saint

By News Desk,

 

Thousands of people are converging on the Vatican for the canonization of Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Oscar Romero, two of the towering figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church.

Pope Paul VI oversaw the modernising church reforms of the 1960s, while Archbishop Romero was a human rights icon murdered for his defense of El Salvador’s poor.

Pope Francis is to celebrate Sunday’s saint-making Mass wearing the blood-stained rope belt that Romero wore when he was gunned down in 1980 and using Paul VI’s staff, chalice and pallium vestment — evidence of the strong influence both men had on history’s first Latin American pope.

Some 5,000 Salvadoran pilgrims travelled to Rome for the ceremony, and tens of thousands more stayed up all night to watch it on giant TV screens outside the San Salvador cathedral where Romero’s remains are entombed.

For many it was the culmination of a fraught and politicized campaign to have the church formally honor a man who publicly denounced the repression by El Salvador’s military dictatorship at the start of the country’s 1980-1992 civil war.

“I am here to give glory to Monsignor Romero.

“He is a light for our people, an inspiration for all,” said Aida Guzman, a 68-year-old Salvadoran woman who carried photos of people killed during the war as she joined thousands in an evening procession in San Salvador.

Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, was gunned down by right-wing death squads as he celebrated Mass on March 24, 1980, in a hospital chapel.

A day before he was killed, he had delivered the latest in a series of sermons demanding an end to the army’s repression – sermons that had enraged El Salvador’s leaders.

Almost immediately after his death, Romero became an icon of the South American left and is frequently listed along with Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi as one of the world’s most influential human rights campaigners.

The United Nations commemorates the anniversary of his death each year.

His influence continues to resonate with El Salvador’s youth as the country endures brutal gang violence that has made the Central American nation one of the most violent in the world — an scourge that Francis has frequently lamented.

“He is my guide, and from what I have read about his life, I want to follow in his steps,” said Oscar Orellana, a 15-year-old who participated in the San Salvador procession wearing a white tunic like the one Romero used to wear.

Paul VI, on his part, is best known for having presided over the final sessions of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 church meetings that opened up the Catholic Church to the world.

Under his auspices, the church agreed to allow liturgy to be celebrated in the vernacular rather than in Latin and called for greater roles for the laity and improved relations with people of other faiths.

Paul is also remembered for his two most important encyclicals, or teaching documents, that have had a profound effect on the church and Francis: One, “The Progress of Peoples” denounced the mounting inequality between rich and poor, and the other, “Humanae Vitae,” reaffirmed the Catholic church’s opposition to artificial contraception.

The stark prohibition empowered conservatives but drove progressives away.

Even today it remains one of the most contested and ignored of papal encyclicals, with studies showing that most Catholics use contraception anyway.

Francis was deeply influenced by Paul, who was the pope of his formative years as a young priest in Argentina and was instrumental in giving rise to the Latin American church’s “preferential option for the poor.”

Francis has styled his papacy on another of Paul’s exhortations, and has adopted the “church of the poor” ethos that Paul embodied when he formally renounced wearing the bejeweled papal tiara.

Things you can do on a Sunday to start a new week

Sunday is often the most challenging day of the week. As some people say, anticipation can be worse than the real thing—which, in this case, is the week ahead. On Saturday, you’re all gung ho about the weekend, but as the hours creep further and further into Sunday, you get a case of what’s been dubbed “the Sunday scaries.” What do you have going on this coming week? Are you ready? How can you prepare yourself for the five days of work ahead?

What we really should be doing with those Sunday hours is savouring them, not wishing them away. Since you don’t have to waste any more precious time, we’ve rounded up the 37 best things to do on a Sunday to start the week off right. Print out this list (or save it to your phone) and cross activities off as you go.

1. Give your hair a hot-oil treatment. Put any olive oil you have in the house in a mug, heat it up for 60 seconds at a time in the microwave, and leave on your strands for 15 minutes. Shampoo it out, and your locks will thank you.

2. Prep a frittata to have for breakfast all week long. We’re partial to this decadent recipe, courtesy of Athena Calderone.

3. Join book club. So get reading.

4. Browse pet-adoption websites. Even if you aren’t ready to get one (or you already have one), it’ll put a smile on your face.

5. Look at your friends’ (and friends of friends’) wedding registries. Why? Because it’s pure fun.

6. Make a list of special things you want to treat yourself to this yearKeep this saved for motivation the next time you want to quit your side gig or you have a bad day at work.

7. Download the Shapr app. This program connects you with people in your business field, so go in with the goal of networking with two new individuals this month. It’s kind of like a dating app, but for work!

8. Take an online calligraphy class. We’re partial to Laura Hooper Calligraphy. Those swirls!

9. Download the soundtrack from your favorite show, movie, or musical. Then sing along to the whole thing. Is anyone else on Assurance by Davido?

10. Soak your feet in the tub. If you want to be fancy, throw in some bubbles, bath salts, or even a bath bomb for some fizz.

11. Hang those pictures you never got around to. Who else has several stacked under their bed for an aspirational gallery wall?

12. Do an edit of your closet. You’ll feel so much better knowing what you have and what you may need. And don’t be shy—toss/donate anything that’s worn, doesn’t fit, or that you won’t ever wear again.

13. Write some snail mail to a friend—just because. We love these chic notecards with sweet sayings.

14. Buy tickets to a charity event. Browse Facebook to find fun fundraisers coming up. Then pick out which dress you’ll wear/rent. Now you’ve got something to look forward to while giving back.

15. Explore a personalized daily vitamin plan, These custom, premade vitamin/supplement packs are perfect for people on the go.

16. Browse Thumbtack to find a new hobby. From voice lessons to dance instruction to the basics of tennis, you’ll find an expert to teach you anything that interests you (be sure to read the reviews).

17. Download a new book from the public library database onto your e-reader. Did you know that most public libraries let you borrow e-books free of charge (with a library card, of course)? Be sure to see if there is a section of librarians’ picks; it usually has some great under-the-radar selections.

18. Look up volunteer opportunities near you. Find something that interests you like tutoring local kids or helping at a soup kitchen. Then enlist a friend to join you!

19. Put on some teeth-whitening strips. Who doesn’t want more of a reason to smile? Distract yourself from the weird feeling by watching some aspiring musicians do celebrity covers on YouTube.

20. Dance around to get in the last few steps of the day on your fitness tracker. Let loose.

21. Do some guided imagery meditation. It will put you in a good place as you cruise into Monday. Take a peek at some of our favorites.

22. Get your taxes together. Remember how rushed you were this year? Quickly gather any receipts, bills, or expenses and make a spreadsheet of anything you need to keep track of. Prepping early will eliminate any guesswork for next year.

23. Clean your jewelry. Did you know dish soap makes rings squeaky clean?

24. Make a five-year plan. Who else has received the dreaded interview question, What is your five-year plan? Make one list that’s career-focused and another that revolves around your personal life.

25. Gather your change and roll it. Or just gather it! Some banks like Bank of America will actually send it out unrolled and deposit it in your account with no fees (if you’re a cardholder, of course).

26. Scroll through Pinterest for travel-destination. Japan? Hawaii? Panama? Which destination will you save for your next trip?

27. Go on OpenTable and snag a coveted reservation weeks in advance. Use Zagat to get some fun ideas.

28. Clean your makeup brushes. Do you know how dirty they actually get? If you’re not a fan of cleaning them by hand, this cool contraption cleans up to 12 brushes at once.

29. Whip up some fruit-infused water for the week. Simply cut up your favorites and put them at the bottom of a pitcher. Pour water over the slices, and let it sit for at least an hour in the fridge. A good combo is strawberries, cucumbers, and mint.

30. Search for a friend’s birthday gift months in advance. It will guarantee you’ll get them something just as special as they are.

31. Stretch. Lay out your yoga mat and just do some light stretching. You’ll instantly feel more zen.

32. Treat yourself to fro-yo at your favorite local spot. Splurge on some extra toppings, because you’re worth it.

33. Arrange a pretty bouquet. Plus, here’s how to do it with flowers from the grocery store.

34. Try bullet journaling for the week. It may take some time to familiarize yourself with the symbols, but this method will be so good for your time management.

35. Scroll through old pictures of you and your friends. Is there anything better than a trip down memory lane? You’ll be occupied for hours, plus you may even be inspired to print some photos!

36. Write yourself inspirational notes to scatter throughout your home. Everyone can use some words of encouragement!

This story was originally published on April 16, 2017 by M. Guerrere, and has since been updated.

33 prayer points on favour

Prepared by SundayDesk,

Here are 33 prayer points about favor to declare and meditate on a regular basis.

Note: Please ensure that you demonstrate your faith by taking action, because faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26).

1. My joy shall multiply today as I receive unlimited favor in the name of Jesus.

2. Nothing will be impossible for me because I am in Christ, and through him, I can do all things (Read – Philippians 4:13)

3. Oh Lord, let your Spirit of lead me to unlimited success and favor this month in the name of Jesus.

4. Let you favor reign in my life today and forever in the name of Jesus.

5. Lord, let me be at the right place at the right time in Jesus name.

6. I dismantle every opposition fighting against me in Jesus name.

7. Those who rejected me will soon open doors for me in the name of Jesus.

8. I receive total favor and victory in the name of Jesus.

9. Wherever I go let your blessing follow me in Jesus name.

10. Holy Spirit direct me into the wonderful things you have in store for me in ‘Jesus’ name. – (Reference – John 16:13)

11. I will succeed and not a fail because Christ dwells richly in me. (Read – Galatians 2:20)

12. God arise and bless all the works of my hands so that your name can be glorified – (Read – Deuteronomy 28:12)

13. Lord, help me to meditate on the Bible day and night so that I can prosper in all things – (Read – Psalm 1:2-3)

14. I now receive clarity on the wonderful opportunities at my disposal in the name of Jesus.

15. Lord bless me so that I can bless my environment in the name of Jesus.

16. Lord bless me so that I can bless the poor, orphans and windows in the name of Jesus. – (Read – James 1:27)

17. Lord, open my eyes to recognise all of the untapped potentials you’ve blessed me with in the name of Jesus.

18. Help me to not take the blessings and favor you’ve blessed me with for granted in the name of Jesus.

19. Oh Lord, deliver me from a mind of procrastination and laziness in the name of Jesus.

20. Oh Lord, dress me up in the garment of favor so that I can expand your Kingdom everywhere I go in the name of Jesus.

Prayerpointchurch

21. Father, empower me to be obedient to your Word so that I my life can be prosperous (Read – Joshua 1:8)

22. Every doubt that has become strongholds in my life, be broken down in the name of Jesus.

23. I banish anxiety and stress in my life in the name of Jesus.

24. I reject every attitude of timidity and claim a mind of boldness in the name of Jesus.

25. Any relationships that would sabotage my destiny let it be broken in the name of Jesus.

26. Lord, give me a spirit of excellence so that I can arise in my calling and glorify your name. (Read – Daniel 6:3)

27. Thank you, Lord for answering my prayers.

28. Heavenly father I fully commit my plans into your hands and I trust you will help me to establish them. (Red – Proverbs 16:3)

29. Lord, let your peace that surpasses all understanding saturate my mind, body and soul in the name of ‘Jesus’ (Reference 4:7)

30. God almighty, let success manifest in every area of my life so that your name can be glorified

31. Lord God, I trust you will show me favor wherever I go and wherever I turn in the name of Jesus.

32. I have an assurance and expectation that I will be victorious at the end in the name of ‘Jesus’ – (Reference – Jeremiah 29:11)

33. My God is able to do beyond what I think, ask or imagine. (Read – Ephesians 3:20)

The Relationship Between Gratitude and Attitude

By Billy D. Strayhorn

Rev. John R. Ramsey in  Second Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul, tells how in one church a certain person provided him with a rose boutonniere for the lapel of his suit every Sunday. At first, he really appreciated it, but then it sort of became routine. Then one Sunday, it became very special.

As he was leaving the Sunday service, a young boy walked up to him and said, “Sir, what are you going to do with your flower?” At first, the preacher didn’t know what the boy was talking about. When it sank in, he pointed to the rose on his lapel and asked the boy, “Do you mean this?”

The boy said, “Yes, sir. If you’re just going to throw it away, I would like it.”

The preacher smiled and told him he could have the flower and then casually asked what he was going to do with it. The boy, who was probably no more than 10 years old, looked up at the preacher and said, “Sir, I’m going to give it to my granny. My mother and father divorced last year. I was living with my mother, but she married again and wanted me to live with my father. I lived with him for a while, but he said I couldn’t stay, so he sent me to live with my grandmother. She is so good to me. She cooks for me and takes care of me. She has been so good to me that I wanted to give her that pretty flower for loving me.”

When the little boy finished, the preacher could hardly speak. His eyes filled with tears and he knew he had been touched by God. He reached up and unpinned the rose. With the flower in his hand, he looked at the boy and said, “Son, that is the nicest thing I’ve ever heard, but you can’t have this flower because it’s not enough. If you’ll look in front of the pulpit, you’ll see a big bouquet of flowers. Different families buy them for the church each week. Please take those flowers to your granny because she deserves the very best.”

Then the boy made one last comment that Rev. Ramsey said he always will treasure. The boy said, “What a wonderful day! I asked for one flower but got a beautiful bouquet.”

That’s the thankful spirit. That’s the gratitude attitude. It’s that attitude that should guide our giving and our lives. Similar to the boy’s granny, God has blessed us so much. God has been so good to us that giving shouldn’t even be a question. It should flow from us naturally.

The Secret of Growth

By Ed Young

2 Peter 3:18

I’ve been on vacation these weeks. I haven’t preached in so long, I told one of my boys that I may preach like Paul. And sometime he just preached all night. My son said, ”Yeah, but one fellow went to sleep in the window and fell out of the window and was killed.” I said, ”Yeah, but Paul went out and raised him from the dead and put him back in the window and kept on preaching.” My son said, ”When you can do that, you can preach all night, too, Daddy.”

If you’d open your Bibles – not to the scripture mentioned, though that’s one of the scriptures that’s very important – to II Corinthians instead, Chapter 3, Verse 18. Mr. Hamlet’s announcement about our television ministry is an extremely important thing. I remember our first Television Committee in this church dreamed of being on national television every week. Somebody would say, ”Why? We have enough out there.” I think for two reasons. First of all, like others, we will preach the gospel clear and clean as best we can. The second thing: we’ll never ask for one penny from anybody. In fact, after we’ve been on for awhile, I’ll make the statement, ”Please join a local Bible-believing church where you live, and send your tithes and offerings there.” That will make our broadcast different, and I think have an appeal to the lost, secular man who is so turned off by a lot of the hustling we see in the name of God and Christ and church on our television screen. That, we intend to do every Sunday, God willing, to the homes of America. I think that’s important. Don’t you?

II Corinthians 3:18:

18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (NAS)

Let’s pray together. ”Father, we’re here in this time to do business with Thee. Cut through our mind, our heart, our prejudices, our attitudes or anything that would keep us fro …

What is true worship?

By  Joseph Carroll

The apostle Paul described true worship perfectly in Romans 12:1-2: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.”

This passage contains all the elements of true worship. First, there is the motivation to worship: “the mercies of God.” God’s mercies are everything He has given us that we don’t deserve: eternal love, eternal grace, the Holy Spirit, everlasting peace, eternal joy, saving faith, comfort, strength, wisdom, hope, patience, kindness, honor, glory, righteousness, security, eternal life, forgiveness, reconciliation, justification, sanctification, freedom, intercession and much more. The knowledge and understanding of these incredible gifts motivate us to pour forth praise and thanksgiving—in other words, worship!

Also in the passage is a description of the manner of our worship: “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.” Presenting our bodies means giving to God all of ourselves. The reference to our bodies here means all our human faculties, all of our humanness—our hearts, minds, hands, thoughts, attitudes—are to be presented to God. In other words, we are to give up control of these things and turn them over to Him, just as a literal sacrifice was given totally to God on the altar. But how? Again, the passage is clear: “by the renewing of your mind.”

We renew our minds daily by cleansing them of the world’s “wisdom” and replacing it with true wisdom that comes from God. We worship Him with our renewed and cleansed minds, not with our emotions. Emotions are wonderful things, but unless they are shaped by a mind saturated in Truth, they can be destructive, out-of-control forces. Where the mind goes, the will follows, and so do the emotions. First Corinthians 2:16 tells us we have “the mind of Christ,” not the emotions of Christ.

There is only one way to renew our minds, and that is by the Word of God. It is the truth, the knowledge of the Word of God, which is to say the knowledge of the mercies of God, and we’re back where we began. To know the truth, to believe the truth, to hold convictions about the truth, and to love the truth will naturally result in true spiritual worship.

It is conviction followed by affection, affection that is a response to truth, not to any external stimuli, including music. Music as such has nothing to do with worship. Music can’t produce worship, although it certainly can produce emotion. Music is not the origin of worship, but it can be the expression of it. Do not look to music to induce your worship; look to music as simply an expression of that which is induced by a heart that is rapt by the mercies of God, obedient to His commands.

True worship is God-centered worship. People tend to get caught up in where they should worship, what music they should sing in worship, and how their worship looks to other people. Focusing on these things misses the point. Jesus tells us that true worshipers will worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). This means we worship from the heart and the way God has designed. Worship can include praying, reading God’s Word with an open heart, singing, participating in communion, and serving others. It is not limited to one act, but is done properly when the heart and attitude of the person are in the right place.

It’s also important to know that worship is reserved only for God. Only He is worthy and not any of His servants (Revelation 19:10). We are not to worship saints, prophets, statues, angels, any false gods, or Mary, the mother of Jesus. We also should not be worshiping for the expectation of something in return, such as a miraculous healing. Worship is done for God—because He deserves it—and for His pleasure alone. Worship can be public praise to God (Psalm 22:22; 35:18) in a congregational setting, where we can proclaim through prayer and praise our adoration and thankfulness to Him and what He has done for us. True worship is felt inwardly and then is expressed through our actions. “Worshiping” out of obligation is displeasing to God and is completely in vain. He can see through all the hypocrisy, and He hates it. He demonstrates this in Amos 5:21-24 as He talks about coming judgment. Another example is the story of Cain and Abel, the first sons of Adam and Eve. They both brought gift offerings to the Lord, but God was only pleased with Abel’s. Cain brought the gift out of obligation; Abel brought his finest lambs from his flock. He brought out of faith and admiration for God.

True worship is not confined to what we do in church or open praise (although these things are both good, and we are told in the Bible to do them). True worship is the acknowledgment of God and all His power and glory in everything we do. The highest form of praise and worship is obedience to Him and His Word. To do this, we must know God; we cannot be ignorant of Him (Acts 17:23). Worship is to glorify and exalt God—to show our loyalty and admiration to our Father.

10 Good Bible Verses Every Business Needs

Prepared by Melinda Emerson

Psalm 5:3 (NIV)
“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”

1 Thessalonians 2:12 (NIV)
“… Encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

Proverbs 18:13 (NIV)
“To answer before listening — that is folly and shame.”

Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

1 Timothy 6:12 (NIV)
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

II Corinthians 12:9-11 (NIV)
“But he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Psalm 37:23-24 (NIV)
“The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.”

Romans 8:18 (NIV)
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Psalm 23: 5-6 (KJV)
“… Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

Bavarian awaits Virgin Mary ahead appearance

By NewsDesk, with Agency report,

The Virgin Mary smells of roses and is returning to Upper Bavaria,  the mother of God has been said is set to appear in small St Lawrence Chapel in Unterflossing in two weeks time at half past four.

That is according to Otto Masszi, a man who, a few years ago, bought and renovated the chapel in the village of 100 souls at his own expense.

He denies any personal interest. “Whether or not this becomes a place of pilgrimage is of no concern to me,” he says.

The virgin has appeared here twice in the past, most recently in September. Hundreds made the pilgrimage, along with a self-appointed prophet named Salvatore Caputa. Some of them insist they could smell her.

“There was this unmistakeable scent of roses,” says Erich Neumann, chairman of the association of friends of the St Lawrence Chapel, who organized the gathering.

Masszi, who works as an engineer for city of Munich – and is also organist and choir leader in several parishes – says a woman even saw the mother of God, describing her as having brown hair and being dressed in a blue velvet robe.

The archdiocese of Munich and Freising, under the jurisdiction of which Unterflossing falls, have refrained from commenting on the phenomenon, which has generated debate among the faithful and others in the region, saying matters outside the church’s purview were involved.

The archdiocese instructed its clerics not to become involved in order to avoid lending any legitimacy to the phenomenon.

Even before that, Father Armin Thaller, the local priest, had maintained his distance, saying the church first had to test the reports. He spoke of “walking a line so sharp that one could cut one’s feet to pieces.”

Reports of Marian apparitions are not uncommon among devout Catholics. Some of the more famous were in Lourdes in France, where a series of appearances were reported in 1858, and another in Fatima in Portugal, where the Mother of Jesus is said to have revealed herself in 1917. Both are places of pilgrimage for Catholics to this day.

Other places where the virgin is believed to have appeared are Guadelupe in Mexico and Filipov in the Czech Republic.

But even if these apparitions are acknowledged by the church, this merely means that they do not conflict with the faith. The faithful are not compelled to believe.

The question being asked is why Mary should appear in Unterflossing, of all places. There are a few theories.

First, Benedict XVI, the pope emeritus who retired five years ago, was born some 30 kilometres away and went to school in the area. There is also Altoetting, with its famous Black Madonna dating back to the 14th century. It is nearby and already an established place of pilgrimage.

Masszi has his answer ready: Our Lady simply chose to make an appearance in strongly Catholic Upper Bavaria. She had previously tried at a place where she was unwelcome – a farmer’s private chapel in Walpertskirchen a little to the west, where Caputa was awaiting her with his retinue.

According to Masszi, Caputa has close links with the virgin and goes ahead of her when she wishes to appear, along with hundreds of pilgrims. That didn’t sit well with the son of the farmer who owned the channel and he chased the group off the farm.

“He even put his manure cart in the way,” Masszi says in disgust. “A tragedy. You can’t pull the rug out from under the Mother of God.” He then took the decision to invite Mary to his chapel, appealing to Caputa to pass on the invitation.

The fact that the Mary will appear at 4:30 pm on the dot does not surprise Masszi. “She knows the time of day.” But he warned guests to come early, as those who have not prayed have little chance of seeing her.

Prayers will start around noon. Following the ban imposed by the archdiocese, an afternoon service will be conducted without a priest.

Masszi says he is opposed to commerce done in the name of Mary, at nearby Altoetting for example. “That does not please the mother of God.”

People in the area are preparing for a surge in interest. “You are the 300th caller,” says Hans Soehl, owner of a metalworking company in nearby Obertaufkirchen, whose phone number has mistakenly been linked to the apparition.

“We have nothing to do with the Marian apparition, apart from the wrong phone number.”

CAN President urges Christians to join political parties, participate in elections

By Adewunmi Abodunrin,

The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Samson Ayokunle, Saturday, enjoined Christians at the 57th retreat of the Nigerian Baptist Convention to be actively involved in politics.

The charge which was contained in a statement released by Ayokunle’s special assistant on media, Adebayo Oladeji advised Christians to become card carrying members of political parties and aspire to take over political offices like other concerned Nigerians.

“The practice of separation of State and Church must be redefined. While the State must not be allowed to control the Church, the Church must influence the State through Christians who are in position of power. To get to a position of power, there is need for election especially in a democratic setting like ours. We must be involved in all facets of politics. Politics is not a dirty game as many have come to believe, but those who play politics are the ones who are dirty.

“Sidon look approach will not help us as Christians. Never complain about what you permit’. If we do not participate actively in politics, then we do not have the right to complain about the type of leaders that are presented by political parties to be voted for and voted into various offices. If we must bring back the glory of Nigeria and rise to more glory as a nation, then effective participation is compulsory for all Christians,” the statement said.

While condemning the recent killings by suspected herdsmen in Benue state and other parts of northern Nigeria, Ayokunle called for restructuring the country and for immediate government action to stop the killings.

“There is the need to update how we govern ourselves, thus, Re-structuring the nation after 57 years is a welcome development. It must be done without bias or prejudice to religion, ethnicity, class or group affiliation. For Nation building to be a sustainable force for peace building, it must incorporate more than just the Western appendages of democracy, voting systems, free market development and increase in the Gross National Product (GNP) of the nation,” he said.