. . As Bishop Ezeokafor Blesses Rectory, Confirms Faithful
By Chioma Ndife
20 years after the creation of St. Raphael’s Catholic Church, Ugbenu, the parishioners through the instrumentality of their Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Martin Ezeiruaku has completed the priests Rectory.
The completion of the rectory was made possible through the commitment of the parishioners and financial assistance which the parish received from some well to do individuals within Anambra State and beyond.
The newly completed priest’s rectory at St. Raphael’s Parish, Ugbenu, Awka North LGA, Anambra State was blessed on Sunday, October 6, 2019 by the Chief Shepherd of Awka Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor.
Bishop Ezeokafor who was on his second Pastoral visit to the Parish, Eight Years after the first in 2011 raised some parishioners as Christ soldiers through the administered of the Sacrament of Confirmation on deserving Catholic faithful in the Community.
Fides gathered that the rectory project started by Rev. Fr. Cyril Obiwelozor during his pastoral period in the parish and was roofed by Rev. Fr. Anthony Udozor, the immediate Parish Priest. The project however became a reality in the second year of Fr. Martin Ezeiruaku, the present Parish Priest.
Blessing the newly completed rectory, Bishop Ezeokafor commended the parishioners for assisting in the works of the church and the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Martin Ezeiruaku for soliciting support from individuals who were not parishioners, saying that such was necessary for structural success to be recorded in a village parish like St. Raphael’s, Ugbenu. He emphasized the importance of a conducive rectory and noted that it was needed for priests’ optimal performance.
Reacting to the address of welcome, Bishop Ezeokafor commended the cordial relationship existing between the parishioners and the parish priest. He expressed his satisfaction in the parish priests’ structural and spiritual transformation of the parish and called on the parishioners to support the priest, saying that their support was tantamount for progress to be attained in the parish.
Earlier in his homily, Chief shepherd of Awka Diocese, explained the importance of faith in the life of every Christian and tasked the Catholic community to work more on grooming their faith in God. He noted that it was difficult for one to survive in life without faith. He outlined ways which practice Catholics could be employed to ensure steady growth of their faith.
He warned against neo-paganism and urged the Catholic community to identify themselves with a particular religion rather than playing lip service. He maintained that for one to be a practicing catholic, such a person must be receiving communion and be going for confession as it puts one on a good track.
In his remark, the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Martin Ezeiruaku, highlighted the need for the bishop’s pastoral visit and explained that it will help the bishop access the parish and identify areas where the diocese would assist the parish. He expressed optimism that the bishop has started yielding fruits in the parish. He appreciated the parishioners and other donors for their support which helped in the progress attained with the rectory project.
Fr. Ezeiruaku, called on the parishioners living in other places to remember their home parish and contribute resources for its development.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the occasion, Baron Chukwudozie Afah, thanked the bishop for his visit and disclosed that the parish priest had brought light to the parish through his various activities. He pleaded with the bishop to facilitate the siting of a diocesan enterprise in the community and expressed hope that the enterprise would bring development.
Highpoint of the event includes drama performance by Holy Childhood of the Parish on the Assumption on the Blessed Virgin Mary, cultural performance by various groups in the parish among others.