. . . Inaugurates HCA, Confirms Faithful at Maiden Pastoral Visit
By Chioma Ndife
The Chief Shepherd of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, His Lordship, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has blessed and officially opened the Church tower at St. James Catholic Church, Neni, Anaocha LGA, Anambra State, for use.
The Church Tower was blessed on Sunday, September 1, 2019, during the maiden pastoral visit of the Bishop, three years after the creation of the parish.
Bishop Ezeokafor at the visit inaugurated members of the Holy Childhood Association in the parish and administered the Sacrament of Confirmation on some deserving Catholic faithful.
Fides gathered that the newly blessed Church Tower remains the only structural project which the parishioners of St. James Catholic Church, Neni, had embarked upon collectively since its creation as a parish.
It will be recalled that the church building, rectory, chapel of perpetual adoration, hall, grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary and floor interlocking, were single handedly financed by an illustrious son and Onowu of Neni Community, Chief Sir Anthony Obiaboso Enukeme, before the creation of the parish and its subsequent dedication.
Blessing the Church tower, Bishop Ezeokafor emphasized the importance of a church tower and maintained that it helped to add to the landmark of a particular locality. He commended the effort of parishioners for coming together and making resources available for the tower project.
Earlier in his homily, the Bishop called on Christians to develop the spirit of humility, noting that one who humbled self would be exalted. He said that the virtue of humility should be visible in the life of Christians, no matter the position which the individual occupied in any particular field of endeavour.
Speaking to Fides, the Parish Priest of St. James Catholic Church, Neni, Rev. Fr. Patrick Amobi Chukwuma, expressed optimism that Bishop Ezeokafor’s visit in the parish would bring a renewal of faith among the parishioners. He maintained that it was important for the Bishop as the chief shepherd of flock in Awka Diocese to visit the flock from time to time in order to prevent them from going astray.
He beckoned on parishioners to concern themselves with developing more faith in God and maintained that the parish would forever be grateful to Chief. Sir Anthony Enukeme who single-handedly financed the structures in the parish, saying that there was need for parishioners to brace-up and contribute financially for the maintenance of the structures.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief, Sir Marcel Oguorah, while concurring with Fr. Chukwuma’s view on the need for Bishop’s visit, said that the visit would motivate the parishioners to be more concerned in the affairs of the church.
For his part, the 1st Vice Chairman of St. James Parish Council, Sir. Tochukwu Muoma, noted that the confirmation of some deserving parishioners and inauguration of Holy Childhood Association in the parish were welcome developments in the spiritual growth that was most needed in the parish.
He disclosed that the physical infrastructure in the parish was of world class quality and stressed the need for improvement in spiritual infrastructure in the parish, saying that the physical and spiritual went hand in hand. He stated that the Bishop’s visit had sown the seed of spirituality among the parishioners and had given the parish a spiritual foundation for better growth.
In an address of welcome, the Parish Secretary, Mrs. Oby Obodozie, expressed the happiness of the parish towards the Bishop’s visit and highlighted the relationship which Bishop Ezeokafor had built with Neni Community which started when he was the Parish Priest of St. John’s Parish, Neni.
She disclosed the intention of the parish towards embarking on fund yielding ventures, saying that such would limit the levies paid by parishioners.
St. James’s Parish, Neni commended their Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Patrick Chukwuma, for his humane conduct which, they said, had strengthened the faith of parishioners. They prayed God to shower more blessings and strength on the parish priest to carry on with the works of the church.
The secretary regretted that most people in the diocese and community saw the parish as wealthy because of its standard structures. She called for a change of attitude among some parishioners who always looked up to Sir Enukeme, the parish pillar, before contributing their quota to the parish, as well as others who, she said, without contributing, believed that there were excess funds in the parish.
Cultural displays, among others, formed the highpoints of the event.