By Mercy Hill
The Catholic Community of Agulu, Sunday, 5th January, 2020, received an indigenous Rev. Mother Mary Ruphina Chukwuka, OSB, who was recently elevated to an Abbess of St. Scholastica Benedictine Monastery in Nigeria..
Rev. Mother Mary Ruphina Chukwuka, who joined the monastery in 1994, made her first profession in 1997 and then her final profession in March, 2005. She later furthered her education in Rome, where she got her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Spirituality and worked in several novitiates but was later asked to return to St. Scholastica Benedictine Monastery Umuoji in January 2019. Thereafter, in August, she was elected, installed and enthroned Abbess.
The reception which held at Madonna Assumpta Parish, Agulu, was preceded by a concelebrated thanksgiving Mass.
Speaking during the homily at the Mass of Epiphany, Rev. Fr. Martin Anusi, spoke on the signs received during the visit of the Three Wise Men to Jesus at His birth, noting that God always showed signs to drive home a message. The homilist, however, warned that Christians should not only focus on those signs, but the message of Christ, adding that they should turn away from evil and seek the light and truth. He pointed out that there were pointers that evil ways displease God.
Explaining the reason for the celebration, Fr. Anusi said that the recent elevation to the position of Abbess of St. Scholastica Benedictine Abbey in Nigeria of Rev. Mother Chukwuka, an indigene of Agulu, was a sign that the light of God was reignited on Agulu people. Breaking down the Benedictine Rule, he highlighted some characteristics of the Benedictine spirituality to include constant integrated prayer life, manual labour and studies.
He however noted that God most times used something or someone to rekindle the fire of his word whenever it went down, regretting what he described as a decline in the worship of God in Agulu. He said that many had gone back to idol worship and urged all to keep their candle alight to sustain the fire of God’s word.
For his part, the parish priest of Madonna Assumpta Parish, Agulu, Rev. Fr. Joel Okechukwu, thanked all, especially the Agulu Catholic Community, for making the event a success, while he appreciated Rev. Mother Mary Ruphina Chukwuka for obediently dedicating herself to the service of God becoming a light, not only in the Abbey, but in her community. He prayed for God’s sustaining grace upon her.
Speaking on behalf of Agulu priests and religious (APRASA), Rev. Fr. Cosmas Ebebe appreciated the priests and religious from Agulu, as well as monks and nuns from other places who were present at the auspicious celebration.
In an address of welcome, read by the secretary, Mr Chivuzo CyprianMary C. the Agulu Central Pastoral Council, welcomed Rev Mother Chukwuka, and described her as a heroine for making the best out of her vocation and touching the lives of people. They prayed for many more fruitful years as a disciple and spouse of the Lord.
In her vote of thanks, Rev. Mother Mary Ruphina, expressed her heartfelt appreciation to all for the grand reception and to those who contributed in making the event a success. She noted that God had not only chosen her for those in the Monastery, but for all and sundry; even as she pledged her continuous fervent prayers on behalf of God’s people.
The event also featured thanksgiving by the traditional ruler of Agulu, Igwe Innocent Obodoakor, who had a successful Ofala; as well as another thanksgiving by the family of Rev. Sr. Luiginamaris Nonye Okoye, in appreciation to God for her Religious Silver Jubilee, among others.
The highlight of the event was a presentation of a RAV4 vehicle to Rev. Mother Mary Ruphina Chukwuka by the Agulu Catholic Community.