The notion and aims of the symbol “NARAC”
“N” stands for Nigeria
Nigeria is a name derived from a wide-deep River Niger rooted in the Atlantic West of Africa. Nigeria a nation of many tribes and languages, amalgamated together as British colony in 1914. Nigeria became an independent Nation also a Federation in 1960. By many international statistics and ratings the nation Nigeria is considered a giant among other African nations, (cf. President Bill Clinton Nigerian Tour CNN Report 2000 also John Baur 2000 Years of Christianity in Africa P.381) presumably, this qualification is quantitatively accredited to Nigeria’s 88.5 million population (cf. UNO census 1991). On the other side of the coin, the Giant of Africa as a tag to Nigeria, can be a reference to her naturally endowed Mineral and Agricultural Resources, which placed Nigeria at apogee in the World’s Marketing Economy between the years 1970-1979; whatever reason Nigeria as a giant of Africa may be, one thing is certain that the presence of Nigeria is not hidden in the modern World Map and history in different ramifications. The Population of Nigeria is bisected in different percentages of Religion, the Traditional Religion, the Christian Religion and Islamic Religion. Politically Nigeria as a nation has witnessed a ‘litmus test’ of different systems of Government, acquainted with the malady of instability in Governmental Regimes and litanies of Military heads of state and Presidents. Presently, Nigeria has given Democracy a chance under the government of President Obasanjo. Our readers are commended to read more of Nigerian history in different World Libraries
“A” stands for Association
The united Nation declaration of Human Right in 1949 (Art.21) asserted “Every one has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association …” Blessed Pope John XXIII elaborated the need for Assembly and Association in his 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris thus: “From the fact that human beings are by nature social, there arises the right of assembly and association. They have also right to give the societies of which they are members the form they consider most suitable for the aim they have in view, and to act within such societies on their own initiative and on their own responsibility in order to achieve their desired objectives … It is most necessary that a wide variety of societies or intermediate bodies be established, equal to the task of accomplishing what the individual cannot by himself efficiently achieve. These societies or intermediate bodies are to be regarded as an indispensable means in safeguarding the dignity and liberty of human person, without harm to his sense of responsibility” (Pope John XXIII; Articles 23-24, AAS 55 (1963), 262-263. English trans. ed. W.Gibbons, Pacem in Terris (Glen Rock, NJ. :Paulist Press,1963) On Association of Clerics cf. Also Corpus Iuris Canonici 1983 C.278, also in Responum ad Modum article129). The above Papal injunctions formed the foundation of the modus operandi and modus vivendi of NARAC as an Association.
“R” stands for Religious
The term Religious as used to form the symbol NARAC though partly inclusive, differs from the universal concept of Man as a Religious Being. Religious as used in NARAC is particularly used to define NARAC as an Association belonging purely to Catholicism. In the Catholic Hierarchical Order of the People of God, the term ‘Religious’ refers to the Persons of consecrated life, with Evangelical Vows and Common life (cf. Vatican Council II, LG art.44, also CIC 1983 C.607.).
“C” stands for Clergy
In the same frame with the Religious life, the term Clergy, as used in the NARAC symbol, is only directed to the Catholic clerics. By purely Catholic Cleric we mean the catholic faithful raised to the sacrament of Orders, they are consecrated and deputed to shepherd the people of God. “The Orders are the episcopacy, the Presbyterate, and the diaconate” (cf. CIC 1983 canons 1008&1009 ). By this logical sequence of the legitimate explication of NARAC, the full meaning is established. The Symbol NARAC means:
NIGERIAN ASSOCIATION OF RELIGIOUS AND CLERGY
The only omission in this poetic rhythm NARAC is the failure to add an alphabet G or D (Germany or Deutschland ) to indicate the locality of the association. This omission can be excused since all the written Banner of NARAC indicate that the Association is located in Germany. NARAC therefore is an Association for the Religious and Clergy in Germany.
The aim of NARAC
Without pre-emptying the constitutional details of the aim of NARAC as an Association, a nutshell snap of the aim of NARAC at its foundation will be a great prop to our point. A flash back to the memory lane indicates that this great and powerful Association was established on the 9th of March 1990 in Wesseling Germany, by the few Nigerian Religious and Clergy. Reading the first document at the establishment of this Association, one draws the feeling that this Association came to exist with the aim of inculcating the spirit of Solidarity among the Nigerian Religious and Clergy in the Land of their Diaspora-Germany. An inquisitive mind may ask as oft the questions we receive, what are these Religious and Clergy doing here in Germany? We answer by expressing our eternal gratitude to the universal and Missionary natures of Catholicism, many of the Nigerian Religious and Clergy in Germany are Missionaries and some are in Germany for their continuos Education. The spirit by which NARAC was established was possessed by the world’s notion of unity and Solidarity. There is no other age when the positive idea of breaking the walls and bearers of divide is emphasis than ours. This is the age when much emphasis is led on the model of the Church as a family, a communion. It is this family concept that motivated the establishment of NARAC . The world’s “family- united talk” is peripheral in comparison to its deeper practice in Africa, because “Just as one cannot remove a fish from the water to talk with it, in the same way it is not possible to remove an Africa from the life of the clan, tribe or family group, since he will no longer be an authentic African having lost his deepest identity, his very being” (M.N. Nkemnkia, African Vitalogy: A step forward in African Thinking. Quoted by Gregory I. Olikenye; African Hospitality: A model for the communication of the Gospel in African Cultural Context. (Nettetal) Steyler Verlag 2001 P.114) It is true therefore, that the Nigerian African Religious and Clergy in Germany have the gene of African family solidarity. Apart from the above reasons as an aim for the foundation of NARAC, other vital reasons abound, mainly, NARAC helps to maintain the Spirituality of our Vocation in this Western Sky. NARAC stands as a forum of encouragement to members to realise their aims of being in Germany. NARAC is the only collective mouthpiece. Just like a family, NARAC brings to Germany our cherished cultural heritage millions of miles away from home. Other aims are stipulated in the Constitution.
A conclusive editorial note
NARAC is more than a decade old, so the editorial history of NARAC into these few lines does not pretend to say all about NARAC but only a tip of the iceberg pointing to the holistic NARAC. It is not also an editorial ungratefulness to omit all the names of the living and dead Ancestors of NARAC and to note that this Association till now has been paddled by able executive leaders whose names are rather enshrined in our minds rather in a paper work. One thing is sure, NARAC as an Association has come to stay with positive metamorphosis which suppresses the difficulties it encounters to excel. We Salute our NARAC executives both Past and Present. We encourage the NARAC Regional Moderators. MAY THIS MOTTO PROP US “THE CHURCH AND NARAC ALWAYS ON MY MIND”.