2023 Cathedraticum: St Michael’s Akwaeze Leads Adazi Region

… 75 Priests Renew Vows

By Michael Nnebife and Ogochukwu  Nwaokafor

The entire priests, religious, and the lay faithful, including institutions in Awka Catholic Diocese in Adazi Region, have reaffirmed their support to the Diocesan Bishop and projects with monetized cows and assorted gifts, food, as well as household items, in observance of the 2023 Cathedraticum.

The Cathedraticum, which took place at the headquarters of the region, St Andrew’s Parish, Adazi-Nukwu, on Tuesday, 3rd April, saw St Michael’s Parish, Akwaeze, taking the first position with 56 cows; followed by St Rita’s Parish, Ichida, with 50 cows; while St John’s Parish, Neni, and St Augustine’s Parish, Ichida, came a joint third with 45 cows each.

The annual event, which doubled as Chrism Mass, featured blessing of the oil of the sick, that of Catechumen, consecration of the oil of the Chrism by the Diocesan Bishop, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, and renewal of priestly vows by approximately, 75 priests in the region.

Speaking in a homily during the Mass, Most Rev Ezeokafor said the essence of the event was to remind the Catholic faithful of the need to strive for excellence in discharging their duty; supporting the bishop’s projects, renewal of vows by the priests, among others.

The bishop, who maintained that priesthood required a lot of sacrifices by one venturing into it, urged the priests to examine themselves with a view to knowing whether they possessed the necessary qualities required of them as an authority leading the flock of God.

He explained that priests were under obligation to work as  teachers, sanctifiers, and custodian of the Church.

The Chief Shepherd of Awka Diocese exhorted the priests to profess Christ not only in words, but also in action, urging them to avoid any act capable of tainting the reputation of priesthood for the salvation of mankind and to the glory of God.

He further admonished the priests to desist from business activities, partisan politics, saying those were prohibited by Canon Law, but urged them to offer directions to people.

Noting that for both priests and the lay faithful to make heaven on the last day, they needed to work symbiotically. He therefore appealed to the lay faithful to assist the priests as they had weaknesses as human beings.

The bishop appreciated the entire members of Adazi Region and institutions for their support, as well as individuals, particularly Senator Victor Umeh, who personally supported with 10 cows.

While thanking God for His grace, Most Rev Ezeokafor however expressed deep concern over the hardship Nigerians are passing through, but encouraged Christians to remain steadfast in faith in God as tomorrow would be better.

Also, the Chancellor of the Diocese, Rev Fr Charles Ndubuisi, informed the congregation that the National Universities Commission, NUC, had approved Peter University, Achina, to run 24 courses which include Law, Nursing, Cyber engineering, among others.

Earlier, the Episcopal Vicar, Adazi Region, and Parish Priest, St Andrew’s, Adazi-Nnukwu, Rev Fr Anthony Anike, in his opening remarks, expressed joy and gratitude to God for making the occasion a huge success despite all odds. He also appreciated Bishop Ezeokafor for his fatherly care and disposition to the priests and the lay faithful of the region in particular, and the entire diocese at large.

In an interview with the press, the Episcopal Vicar assured that the renewal of vows by the Adazi priests would add more zeal to and increase their commitment in carrying out their assignments for the Church.

In an address of welcome, the Secretary of the Region, Mrs Justina Umeh, also appreciated the bishop and the entire faithful for attending the Cathedraticum. She used the opportunity to appeal to Bishop Ezeokafor, to make use of his good offices to facilitate a creation of Adazi Diocese.