…As Church Marks 5 Years Anniversary of Dedication
By S0phia Ugwuoke
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev Dr Paulinus Ezeokafor, last Sunday, September 4, 2022, paid a pastoral visit to St Anthony’s Parish, Nawfia, in Anambra State where he administered the Sacrament of Confirmation on 102 candidates.
The Bishop’s visit, which ushered in the parish’s 5th Dedication Anniversary and confirmation of new Soldiers of Christ, was attended by many indigenous priests and dignitaries, who expressed joy at seeing the growth recorded by the parish.
Receiving his lordship during the Episcopal visit was the parish priest, Rev Fr Damian Kenechukwu, who welcomed the Bishop to the parish. He also welcomed the priests that were in attendance; Rev Fr Charles Ndubisi, Rev Fr Jude Uba, Rev Fr Mike Onwukike, Very Rev Fr Benjamin Ewelu, and Rev Fr Michael Oguno.
Bishop Ezeokafor who Led in the Concelebrated Mass, in his homily, emphasized the need for the faithful to allow God to lead their spirits and inner thoughts. For this to be effective, he said, they had to be great followers and representatives of Christ. Noting that it would not be an easy journey, the Bishop urged them to always remember the sufferings and pains Christ went through for their sake.
The prelate said that without Christ’s sufferings and sacrifice, there would not be Christianity. He further explained that the sufferings and sacrifice were not about material things, but about the spirit, soul and body. He said they could do this by denying the flesh of pleasures and applying a Christ – like attitude.
He reminded the congregation that the pastoral visit was an apostolic function of the Bishop to visit parishes under his care to know how such a parish was growing; likewise for the parish to support the Bishop and the growth of the diocese.
While addressing the issue of child upbringing, Bishop Ezeokafor regretted that most young people do not come to church anymore.
He further identified family upbringing and government’s situation as likely causes of this; just as he advised parents to train their children accordingly and in a Godly manner, because, according to him, when families prayed together all the time, the children would develop the habit of praying.
On the issue of zonal bazaars, he said that they should be maintained, while also noting that the zonal leaders should be in charge of the bazaars because such fell within their purview. He urged priests and zonal leaders to cooperate.
Finally, he pleaded with everyone to vote according to their consciences, bearing in mind the betterment of the country.
The flip side of the event saw a grand reception that was organized shortly after the Episcopal Mass. The parish priest, Rev Fr Damian Kenechukwu, introduced the dignitaries that were present who included, Sir Dr Dan Obelle (Eze Udo 1 of Nawfia); Hon Chinedu Nwoye (Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Protocol to Prof Soludo); Barr Sly Ezeokwenna (Commissioner for Special Duties); Hon. Dozie Nwankwo; Hon Timothy Ifediora; Hon Dan Okoye; Sir and Lady Fidelis Okoyechinaa; Arch Stan Nwana, among others.
The chairman of the occasion, Arch. Stan Nwana, appreciated all for their efforts and sacrifices, which, he said, made the event a success.
The address of welcome was presented by Mrs Nkechi Obiora (Secretary Parish Council), after which was the presentation of gifts to the Bishop.
In appreciation to the people of St Anthony’s Parish, the Bishop thanked them for their support towards the growth of the diocese and their parish. He also expressed great joy over their support towards Peter University and announced that the university would commence school this session. He urged everyone to develop the spirit of togetherness and love towards one another.
Highlights of the event were administering of the Sacrament of Confirmation, welcome address, cultural dances, and presentation of gifts to the Bishop.