By Chioma Ndife
…Says Glaring Miraculous Evidence Needed for Beatification
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor has called on Catholic Faithful to intensify prayers for Fr. Aaron Ekwu beatification process and to seek God’s intervention especially in obtaining favours in difficult moments through the priest’s name.
He noted that seeking for God’s intervention through the Priest’s name will bring about the glaring miraculous evidence which the Catholic Church awaits for before the beatification could be possible. He beckoned on the faithful to come up with evidence of favours received through the intercession of Fr. Ekwu for proper documentation and immediate presentation to the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis.
Bishop Ezeokafor made the call last Monday, July 20, during the blessing of Fr. Aaron Ekwu Beatification Process office located at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, Amawobia, Awka South LGA, Anambra State.
It should be recalled that Rev. Fr. Aaron Ejikemeuwa Ekwu, an Awka Diocese priest, died through a severe injury in a car crash on Good Friday of April 2nd, 1989. He was born on 24th September 1936 at Owerre-Ezekalla and attended All Hallow’s Seminary Onitsha from 1951-1958 after which he proceeded to Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu.
Fr. Ekwu was ordained a Catholic priest on June 29, 1965 at Catholic Cathedral of Vienna, Austria by Card. Francis Konig after attending Catholic Major Seminary, Vienna, Austria from 1961 to 1965.
After his return to Nigeria in 1970, he served as the Parish Priest of Osumoghu and in 1971 he returned to Bigard as professor of Dogmatic Theology and left in 1977. He was at Education Commission in Anambra State before his death.
Fides gathered that the beatification process of Fr. Ekwu was started by the then Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev. Simon Akwali Okafor in a Holy Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka, on 23rd November 2002. This came in the wake of investigations into his life and numerous testimonies which had been recorded through him.
Blessing the Beatification Process Office, Amawbia, Bishop Ezeokafor expressed delight that Nigerians are gradually doing things and getting more serious for the beatification process of Fr. Ekwu to be possible and disclosed that Austria Catholic Faithful seemed more enthusiast and committed towards the process than Nigerians.
The Catholic prelate however linked the low pace which Nigerians seemed to be moving with towards the beatification process when compared to that of Austria’s due to financial constrain, saying that the process required funds.
He noted that the testimonies which has been received through Fr. Ekwu had shown him as a saint of God as he made honest effort to live a good life, noting that the whole process was to make it official.
He explained that the pronouncement of Fr. Ekwu as a Saint and inclusion in the list of official saints would spur people up to live a more impacting life especially in Nigeria and Awka Diocese where he lived and interacted with most people before his death.
He said that the newly blessed office which he termed a “Collection center” will help people to seek and offer information about Fr. Ekwu, as well as record testimonies received through him, saying that all will make the beatification process possible.
Speaking at the event, the Postulator of the Beatification Process of Fr. Ekwu in Awka Diocese, Rev. Fr. Innocent Nwafor, explained that the process of beatification and eventual canonization goes through various processes and required much prayers and patience.
Fr. Nwafor who is also the Episcopal Vicar of Adazi Region, revealed that the process had received approval from the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria and others, noting that documents that has be collected will be sent to Rome in no distant moment for Pope’s approval. He said that after Pope’s approval, a prayer group will be instituted for the Fr. Ekwu’s canonization.
He stated that the newly blessed house will house Fr. Ekwu’s personal effects such as cloths, prayer booklets among other information to be gathered about Fr. Ekwu.
He urged those seeking for information about Fr. Ekwu and those who had received favour through the priest to come to the office for proper documentation and subsequent transfer of such to the Bishop and Pope.
In a remark, the Parish Priest of St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, Amawbia, Rev. Fr. Michael Onwukike, thanked God for the heighten which the process had attained and viewed the beatification process as something that will happen in no distant moment.