By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
After over five years of the bishop’s presence in the parish, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, last Saturday, March 20, made a short visit to St Peter’s Parish, Ugwuoba, Oji River LGA, Enugu State, during which he blessed the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, Statue of Blessed Michael Iwene Tansi and a water borehole of the parish.
Fides gathered that the Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) that was housed by the grotto and roofing of the giant grotto were sponsored by three brothers; Mr Emmanuel Onyebueke, Chibueze Onyebueke and Ifeanyi Onyebueke, of Umuomaku, Orumba South LGA, Anambra State.
Speaking at the event, Bishop Ezeokafor, who said he was delighted to have visited the parish which is the mother parish of Ugwuoba Catholic Community after such a long time, noted that the new facilities were indications that life was returning to St Peter’s Parish. He commended the parish for the maintenance work going on in the church building and urged them to expedite action for the speedy completion of the re-roofing work.
The Catholic prelate, who took the faithful through the important position which BYM played in the life of the Church as salvation of humanity, commended the parish and the supporting donors, as well as the Onyebuekes, for the beautiful grotto. He extolled the parish priest, Rev Fr Anthony Paul Mary Ibekwe, who had put up grottos of BVM in the parishes he had worked in the past, for his exemplary dedication.
Pointing out that water and food, alongside shelter and air, were necessary for human wellbeing and survival, Bishop Ezeokafor, who had his assistant secretary, Rev Fr Daniel Eduzor, and the chancellor of the diocese, Rev Fr Francis Chidume in his entourage, prayed that the water borehole would serve the purpose for which it was provided.
Presenting the grotto to the bishop for blessing, Mr Emmanuel Onyebueke said he and his brothers made the donation in gratitude to God for his blessings and in support of the apostolate of Rev Fr Anthony Mary Ibekwe in Ugwuoba.
Mr Onyebueke, who had while Fr Ibekwe was their parish priest at St John’s Parish, Umuomaku,
donated a grotto to his home parish, said he loved supporting Fr Ibekwe because the priest had been making proper use of church funds for projects in the parishes he worked in.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman, Oji River Local Government Area, Hon Barr Franklin Udemezue, commended Fr Ibekwe for the progress which his apostolate in the parish brought to Ugwuoba. The chairman, on behalf of his family, picked the bill for the tiling of the giant grotto.