Lessons from Catholic Church of Transfiguration’s Laity Week

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Female parishioners of Arepo during physical exercise

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Parishioners of the Catholic Church of Transfiguration, Arepo, Ogun State have been inundated with the need to give their children sexuality education and need to witness with dignity at the just ended one week laity week

THE laity week organised by the Catholic Church of Transfiguration, Arepo, Ogun State, has come and gone but the lessons learnt from the exercise will remain with the parishioners who attended the event for a long time to come. The week which took place penultimate week witnessed a lot of activities including two paper presentations on “Witnessing to Human Dignity” by George Adeniran, Sexuality Education and a debate on whether Christians should participate in politics.

According to the paper entitled “Sexuality Education – An Essential Curriculum for Children which was presented by Omonon Theresa Akugha, a lawyer, sexuality education involves a lifelong process of acquiring information and forming attitudes, beliefs, and values. It encompasses sexual development, sexual and reproductive health, interpersonal relationships, affection, intimacy, body image, and gender roles.

Male parishioners of Arepo during the football match
Male parishioners of Arepo during the football match

“The teaching of sexuality to children has become an issue of controversy between the family, school a

nd the church with each of these agents pointing accusing fingers at each other. The need for the introduction of sexuality education in the school curriculum is as a result of parents’ refusal to give their children the sexual information they require to help them function well in the society. Parents on their part believe that moral decadence in children is an after effect of what they learn from school either through peer influences or from their teachers who are meant to act as role models,” she said.

She said that the fact that children spend more time at school than at home, made some parents to think that the teaching of moral and ethical values should be effectively taught at school rather than teach sex education. But she opines that various researches revealed that the media and entertainment industry are responsible for adolescents’ moral decadence. “The idea of instilling sexuality education in school curriculum has been a serious problem in Nigeria. Both religious and cultural beliefs forbid the teaching of sexually related matters to adolescents who are not yet married. The church and the homes believe that it is better for adolescents not to involve themselves in anything about sex before marriage,” she said.

Female parishioners during the games
Female parishioners during the games

Akugha is of the view that sexuality education begins at home. “Parents and caregivers are the primary sexuality educators of their children. Opportunities to discuss sexuality issues with children occur on a daily basis. From the moment of birth, children learn about love, touch, and relationships. Infants and toddlers learn about sexuality when their parents talk to them, dress them, show affection, and teach them the names of the parts of their bodies. As children grow into adolescence, they continue to receive messages about sexual behaviors, attitudes, and values from their families. Young people also learn about sexuality from other sources such as friends, television, music, books, advertisements and the Internet.”

According to her, “Sexuality education provides the opportunity to learn the exact body vocabulary, which gives children a better chance to frame questions and express themselves. Sexuality education provides preparation for puberty and beyond. Good sexuality education plays an important part in helping children manage the physical and emotional changes that puberty brings. Sexuality education helps young people make healthy choices. Sexuality education can be protective against sexual abuse.”

Although Akugha’s presentation generated a lot of reactions from parishioners who wanted more enlightenment on issues of sexuality as it relates to children, the debate on whether Christians should participate in politics created a lot more controversy. But in the end those who were in favour of the Christians participating in politics won more points than those who are against it.

On Saturday, church members gathered at the NUJ Phase 1 School Field for a physical exercise and novelty football matches with Reverend Father Charles Soyombo, parish priest, scoring the lone goal during the male session of the games. The laity week ended with a thanks giving Mass penultimate Sunday.

— Apr. 6, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT

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