By Precious Ukeje
Most Rev. Peter Ebere Okpaleke, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ekwulobia (CADEK), on Saturday, March 6, 2021, was at Holy Ghost Academy, Amaokpala (HGAA), Orumba North LGA, where he celebrated Holy Mass for the Feast/Parents’ Day of the school. The event took place sixteen years after the last visit of the Catholic prelate to the academic institution.
Bishop Okpaleke visited the school last on February 16, 2005, when he represented the then Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Simon Akwali Okafor of blessed memory; and his Auxiliary, Bishop Solomon Amanchukwu Amatu, now Bishop of Okigwe Diocese, in a similar event. He was the Chancellor of Awka Diocese at the time.
In his homily, Bishop Peter Okpaleke said he was delighted to have celebrated with the school again, and this time as the chief shepherd of the Catholic Diocese of Ekwulobia, CADEK.
The Catholic prelate appreciated the Holy Ghost Fathers for their efforts in bringing the Catholic faith to the eastern part of the country. He commended the congregation for their vision in education and teachings through which they led many people to God and contributed to developmental strides in priestly vocation and education.
He commended the Spiritans for the establishment of the school in a part of the diocese, saying that CADEK was delighted that HGAA had contributed to the proper formation of the students. Bishop Okoye prayed God to bless and strengthen the Congregation of the Holy Ghost in their various areas of apostolate.
Pointing out that the students were privileged to have been tutored by the Holy Ghost Fathers and brothers, Bishop Okpaleke charged them to dispose themselves to the proper formation they were being given by their formators so as to toe the right path in life.
Addressing the students the bishop said, ‘You are here as instruments that will help to civilize and educate this part of the country and beyond. As those loved by God, you have received not just intellectual knowledge, but holistic formation as well. Try and be change agents for your wellbeing and the good of society.
Bishop Okpaleke said the parents were privileged to have had the resources to retain their wards in the school, and more so, to be alive to have witnessed their proper formation within the inner circle of the church. He therefore urged them not to fear, regarding the regularity of training which the children received.
The bishop encouraged the parents to support the efforts of the principal and the staff members of the school in moulding the students. He advised the students against allowing their parents’ love to sway them from the qualitative education and proper formation they were given in the school. The Catholic prelate urged them to be focused and explore the better opportunities they had to appreciate their parents in future.
Bishop Okpaleke, who agreed to the need to correct the students with flogging, advocated for the need for such to be balanced with positive rewards when the children performed well.
He lamented against laziness, which, according to him, had caused much harm on the young ones today, and encouraged the students to resort to hard work so as to succeed in their endeavours, noting that hard work did not kill.