Bishop Ezeokafor Chairs Awka Diocesan’s Last Pastoral Council Meeting for 2023

…Awards Best Performing Parishes during Cathedraticum

By Daruwana Daku

The Second Awka Diocesan Pastoral Council meeting was held on October 8, 2023, at Archbishop A.K. Obiefunna Retreat, Pastoral and Conference Centre, Okpuno, Awka.

The meeting which had in attendance, parish priests, heads of the diocesan institutions and lay faithful, was presided by the Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor.

In the course of the meeting, the Financial Administrator of the Diocese, Rev. Fr. Paulinus Okonkwo called and presented the parishes and institutions that were outstanding in the last Cathedraticum celebrated at the different regions of Adazi, Nimo and Awka on April 4th, 5th and 6th, 2023 respectively.

The representatives of those parishes and institutions received awards which were presented to them by the Vice Chairman of Awka Diocesan Pastoral Council, Sir Ikenna Okafor (Ide Akwaeze). The presentation was done in different categories where parishes emerged first, second and third, respectively.

Some of the parishes who went home with the awards are presented in the following categories below:

Under the diocesan simple positioning, St. Mary’s Awka took first position while Ave Maria, Nawfia and St. Joseph Amawbia went home with second and third positions respectively. In the regional awards, Awka, Adazi and Nimo Regions took lead with first, second and third positions respectively.

The parish positioning was also graded from 1 to 10. In the grade 1, St. Mary’s Awka topped the grade whilst St. Patrick’s Awka and St Andrew’s Adazi Nnukwu emerged 2nd and 3rd positions.

In the grade 2, St. Thomas Aquninas emerged first while Enugukwu St. Anthony and Neni St. John came second and third. Meanwhile, St. Theresa’s Enuguw-Ukwu, St. Paul’s Abba and St. Mathew’s Amawbia came first, second and third in the grade 3 positioning.

In the grade 4, Our Lady of Assumption, Nimo, St. Joseph the worker, Aguluzigbo, and St. Patrick’s, Awka sat in the first, second and third positions.

St. Maichael’s Parish Akwaeze emerged first in grade 5 just as St. Augustine Ichida. St. Edward’s Amawbia and St. Gabriel’s Okpuno tied in the second position. Annunciation parish, Awka had the third place in this grade.

In the grade 6 category, St. Rita’s Parish Ichida, took the lead with first position while St. Francis’ and St. Peter’s parishes both in Awka took second and third positions respectively.

Ave Maria came first in grade 7 while St. Joseph’s Amawbia and St. Gregory Akwaeze went home with second and third positions.

In the grade 8 category, Sacred Heart Chaplaincy Awka took lead while St. James Neni and St. Joseph Nri tied with second position. St. Mathias Agulu went home with third position in this grade.

Holy Family Achalla leads in grade 9 while St. Michael’s Isiagu and St. Joseph’s Awgbu came second and third.

In the grade 10, which appears to be the chaplaincy grade had, Ezinato Chaplaincy, St. Lawrence Chapel, Awka and Regina chaplaincy with first, second and third positions.

The bishop also extended the award galore to mission schools. Coming first from this category is St Patrick’s College Awka just as Tansi Int’l College came second. Meanwhile, St. John of God, Girl’s Secondary School, Awka and Bubendorf Memorial Grammar School, Adazi Nnukwu tied with third position.

Speaking to Fides at the end of the occasion, the Financial Administrator of the Diocese, Rev. Fr. Paulinus Okonkwo explained the criteria used in determining the positions secured by the award recipients. According to him the positioning was done according to the number of cows presented by the different parishes and institutions during the catedraticum where a cow has a monetary value pegged at Fifty thousand Naira (₦50,000) only.

Reacting to the awards, one of the award recipients, the parish priest of Holy Family Parish, Achalla, Rev. Fr Felix Efobi, noted that the awards were aimed at encouraging parishes that did well in the last cathedraticum.

In his words, ‘The awards are to encourage the parishes to keep working hard and an appreciation to parishes to keep doing well,’ Fr. Efobi noted. He also added that the exercise was to encourage parishes in supporting the Bishop for the work he was doing for the diocese.

Fr. Efobi also noted the challenges encountered during the cash crunch and economic difficulties in all the parishes; even as he raised hope for other parishes that did not win awards, urging them to keep doing their best.

‘I wouldn’t say that the parishes that did not get the awards did not do well. All the parishes tried. It is just by providence that some came to the point of getting awards but I encourage them to continue with the struggle,’ he stated.

Fides gathered that the Diocesan Pastoral Council Meeting is held twice every year and that it is a platform that represents the entire faithful of the diocese where parishes and their vice chairmen discuss diocesan matters such that parishes are informed with the resolutions made at the meeting, and at same time implement them at the grass root level. Issues bordering the diocese were top of the agenda during the meeting.