Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 6, 2000
Local Knights try to find chalices for Nigerian priests
By FRANK DOLPHIN
Special to the WCR
Parish priests and religious are being asked to check their cupboards for chalices and ciboriums no longer in use.
Members of the Knights of Columbus St. Joseph Assembly in Edmonton are appealing for help to supply priests in desperate need in Nigeria and other Third World countries.
The appeal follows a request by Nigerian Father Innocent Onyewuenyi, a professor of philosophy at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka.
"May I appeal to you to extend this wonderful apostolate to us here in Nigeria, specifically in the area of Igboland (Biafra), which is the heart of priestly and religious vocations."
He says Bigard Memorial Seminary in Nigeria is the largest in the world. In addition, there are four major seminaries in the area with 4,000 seminarians.
Many of the newly-ordained priests from these institutions are extremely poor and can't afford chalices for use at their ordinations and later ministry.
Onyewuenyi, a member of the Crusader Council in Worcester, Mass., collected chalices during the two years he spent as a visiting professor at the College of the Holy Cross in that city. On his return to Africa, he distributed the chalices and is appealing for more.
Two years ago, the Edmonton Knights began a "chalice program," donating nine chalices through the Society of St. Peter the Apostle to priests in mission countries on six continents.
Gordon Buzinsky of St. Joseph Assembly heads the program. "Now that there is more awareness of the great need in mission countries, I'd like other councils to do the same thing," he said.
The presentation of a chalice to a newly-ordained priest in Canada and the U.S. was once a popular custom. The practice has declined with the shortage of vocations in North America.
Donors offering a chalice or ciborium may request that it be sent to a specific country, but the present emphasis is to fulfill the request from Nigeria. A new chalice costs about $350, a refurbished chalice or ciborium $75.
Send chalice or ciborium donations to Msgr. John Hamilton, St. Matthew Parish, 13131-86 St., Edmonton T5E 3B5.