Celebrating John Cardinal Onaiyekan at 70



By Sr Kemi Akinleye, fsp

book-launch-abuja-seeking-common-grounds-OnaiyekanThe book launch took place on the 8th of February 2014 at NICON LUXURY Hotel, Abuja. It was part of a three-phase celebration of the 70th birthday of John Cardinal Onaiyekan. He turned 70 on the 29th of January 2014 but was in Rome on the actual date therefore the celebration was moved to early February. On the 5th of February there was a fundraising dinner at Transcorp Hilton hotel, 8th February was the Book Launch at Nicon Luxury and thanksgiving Mass at 10.00 am on 9th February at the Pro Cathedral, Abuja.

The book launch began at about 11.30am with the opening prayer led by the auxiliary bishop of Abuja, Bishop Anselm Umoren. Many dignitaries and guests were in attendance and their presence was duly acknowledged.

A few speeches were made before the Cardinal himself addressed the audience. He thanked God for the grace to be alive to celebrate his 70th birthday and for all the good that God has accomplished in him and through him, despite his limitations, in the midst of God’s people in the Church, in Nigeria and all around the globe.

After the Cardinal’s address, a review of the book was presented by Fr Paulinus Odozor cssp, a Spiritan priest who worked very hard to compile the papers and talks of the Cardinal from 1978 till 2013 into three volumes before presenting it to the publishers, Paulines Publications Africa. “Seeking Common Grounds” is the first of three books. The other two will be published by the summer of 2014.

“Seeking Common Grounds” is a collection of John Cardinal Onaiyekan’s writings showing a wealth of his reflection and experience in promoting peace, justice and dialogue among peoples of major world religions on the various continents, especially in Africa.

The First Lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan, accompanied by Mrs Titi Atiku, the wife of the former vice president of Nigeria, officially unveiled and launched the book. She encouraged all present to get a copy of the book, buy a copy for a friend, a family member and make it known everywhere that a new publication on inter religious dialogue by our Cardinal Onaiyekan is now available.
A good amount of money was raised by all the other launchers present and all the funds collected on the occasion was put together for the building of a new Cathedral in the archdiocese of Abuja. Many copies of the book were diffused at the book launch and a lot more copies sold out after the thanksgiving Mass on February 9th.

“Seeking Common Grounds” can be purchased from the Paulines Book and Media Centres in Kado-Kuchi and Zone 2, opposite Holy Rosary Parish, Abuja. It is also available in Paulines Publications Book Centre, Nairobi.

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