FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DOMINANT PRESENCE OF ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN ODOZOR

FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DOMINANT PRESENCE OF ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN ODOZOR

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INTRODUCTION

1.1    Background of the Study

Christian religion has come a long way with the first missionary station at Badagry in 1842. In 1857, the church missionary society established the first mission church at Onitsha under the leadership of Rev. Henry Townsend. From Onitsha, the gospel started its slow but steady journey into the interior. The C.M.S established a station at Enugu Ngwo in 1912. The visit of Rev. Isaac Uzowulu to Ngwo triggered off an expansionist sprit among the missionaries

This itinerant evangelist embarked on house to house evangelism and established a station at Umuabi, Udi and Okpatu. From the station at Okpatu a mission station was found in Umulumgbe in 1936. In an interview with Elder Amadi of Eke,Town, he said that “Udi area witnessed missionary

scramble in the second decade of the 20th Century”.

This pioneer position gave the Church missionary society added advantages. During this period many communities were desirous to open up C.M.S mission station in their communities. In the face of the increasing demand for mission contact, the Holy Ghost Congregation of the Roman Catholic mission emerged on the scene. Ilogu (1974) pointed out that 1885 witnessed the emergence of the Holy Ghost Congregation of the Roman


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Catholic Church in Igbo land. The entrance of Roman Catholic mission in Igbo land compelled missionary drive into the interior. This drive led to missionary rivalry in their adoption of apostolic policies. Ekeche pointed out that the Roman Catholic explored the interior through the creeks, from Aguleri, to Olo, Achalla, Owa and Oghe to Eke in 1914. Rev Fr. Aloysee Muller opened up a mission station at Eke with Mr. Ikem peter as the poiner teacher. From Eke, like the biblical mustered seed the church spread as far as Nsukka, Ogaja and Makurdi to the North, Ebenebe and Ida.

From the above description, we can have a fair picture of the enormous apostolic activities of the pioneer missionaries of Eke. By 1889, Eke mission station has gave birth to five town parishes of Ebe, Abor, Ukana, Okpatu and Umulumgbe and constitutes mainly Roman Catholic population.

1.2    Statement of the Problem

The Church Missionary Society and the Roman Catholic Church are two major actors in mission evangelism in Igboland. As early as 1912. The presence of the C.M.S. was established at Enugu Ngwo and Udi area respectively. In spite of this early development the people of Odozor are dominantly Roman Catholics when compared to other areas in Udi Local Government Council Area.


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This raises a number of questions such as:

(a)              What are the factors for the sudden twist of events in the C.M.S. evangelizing mission?

(b)             Can this sudden twist be attributed to method, charisma, strategies

employed, and political influence of the local chiefs or inadequacy of trained local agents and laity groups?

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The urge to undertake this study is to look into some distinctive religious and ecclesiastical issues of the various Christian missionary enterprises in Odozor Local Government Development Council with the view to find out the factors for the dominant presence of Roman Catholic Church adherents viz-a- viz other areas in Udi Local Government Area Council.

1.4 Scope of the Study

The study area is Odo-Ozor Local Government Development Council. The council is made up of the following towns: Ebe, Abor, Ukana, Awhum, Okpatu, Umulumgbe, Umuoka and Ukehe. These towns share common paternal, socio-cultural and religious tie. Due to the congenial nature of the study area, a selective random area was undertaken. The


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representative study areas are Ebe, Okpatu, Awhum, Umulumgbe and Abor.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The response of OdoOzo people towards various Christian missionary endeavors is of great significant. An expository view at the above will help to clarify missionary enterprise in the area. Also the study stands to offer an insight into the level of commitment of the various missionaries in carrying out their primary assignment. It equally stands to contribute to scholarship on the faith ideology of the people of OdoOzor Missionary evangelism. The research finding could be used to draw conclusion on the enduring strategies in faith propagation. Finally it stands to correct the misinterpretation of the past with the view to improving the present situation and achieving a balanced view of activities in Odo-Ozor Local Government Development council.

1.6 Methodology

The nature of the research demands a multi-dimensional approach. The researcher made use of Historical and analytical approach. The nature of the study compels this study to rely more on primary sources. Under this approach interview guidelines were designed so that discussion will be focused on the content specified in the research objective. However; based


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on the relative criticism of the interview method, the research variable made the researcher to feel strongly that any method that would promote anonymity would yield reliable result. For this reason question were framed to cover people response, missionary strategies and factors for the dominant presence of Roman Catholic Church in Odo-Ozor.

The questions were both closed and open ended to enable respondents less bored and unable to suppress or distort basic response to the question. The researcher also made use of group discussion method. A key topic on Christian Missionary enterprise in Odo-Ozor was raised and expressed views of discussants made useful information for this study. The discussants include Traditional rulers, Academicians and clergy men who represented their interest groups and callings.

The researcher also made use of secondary sources in data collection and in the evaluation related literature on the topic of study, documented materials such as text books, journals; magazines unpublished works were also used. On the basis of logical evidence, the researcher applied logical reasoning to arrive at conclusions.

1.7       Definition of Terms

For clarification of terms, the following terms used there need to be explained in the context of their usage.


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Traditionalist

These refer to people that practice or the adherents of Africa traditional religion.

Warrant chiefs

These are class of people mandated by the colonial masters to exercise political, social and economic influence on the people living in a geographical area. Their mandate was necessary because of the absence of organized political structure in Igboland.

Response

Thi


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