. . . Frowns at celebration of the dead
By Abuchi Onwumelu
The Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese His Lordship Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has frowned at the celebration of the dead, describing it as a waste of financial and material resources
Bishop Ezeokafor who stated this in a homily to mark the beginning of the 2020 Awka Diocesan Laity Week at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Enugwu Ukwu, in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State, announced that the law had been signed and awaiting implementation.
The Catholic prelate stated that once it was implemented he would ensure that the law was enforced, especially in Awka Diocese, emphasizing that people should be celebrated and catered for while they were alive; not when they were no more, adding that it was no longer about a befitting burial but about a befitting life.
Bishop Ezeokafor decried what he described as extravagant spending during funerals, saying that the quest to offer the dead a befitting burial had pushed many into all manner of atrocious acts, noting that people should be celebrated while they were still here on earth and not when they were gone.
In his homily, Bishop Ezeokafor exhorted Christians to embrace Christ in His fullness and ensure they served Him in truth and in spirit, saying that Jesus Christ remained the Saviour of the world and a living water.
He described Jesus Christ as the water of life and enjoined Christians to drink from Him in order to quench their spiritual thirst and hunger.
Bishop Ezeokafor who anchored his preaching on the Holy Gospel according to John (4:5-42), said Jesus told a Samaritan woman in a town called Sychar, near the land Jacob gave to his son, Joseph, that, “If you only knew what God is offering and who it is that is saying to you: ‘Give me a drink’, you would have been the one to ask, and He would have given you living water”.
He urged all to ensure they became true sons and daughters of Christ by living a Christ-like life. He appealed to those who, he said, had found Christ, to introduce Him to others, stating that Jesus Christ should not be seen or taken as a personal property.
‘Following Christ is not enough; ensure you bring others along. Christ is not your personal property. Be accessible and courteous. Reach out to others. Share the Good news to your neighbours. Hoarding the message and avoiding people cannot fetch you the kingdom of God. Be liberal and accommodating,’ Bishop Ezeokafor exhorted.
He called on Christians to be proactive in their pursuit of heavenly reward, noting that any serious Christian should be concerned about their spiritual happiness rather physical and worldly joy. He said that the issue of faith should not be taken for granted.
The chief shepherd of Awka Catholic Diocese announced that the proposed Peter University located at Onneh/Achina would now be co-owned by Awka Diocese and the newly created Ekwuluobia Diocese, saying that it was a joint effort. He added that if by tomorrow another diocese was created out of Awka, it would still be the same.
This year’s Awka Diocesan Laity Week had “Persistent Insecurity in Nigeria, need for Respect for Human Life”, as its theme.
The event attracted top government functionaries, priests, religious, lay faithful, as well as the bishop’s secretary and Chief Chaplain, Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese, Rev. Fr. Dr. Michael Monwe; the traditional ruler of Enugwu Ukwu, HRM Raph Ekpe and the traditional ruler of Abagana, HRH, Igwe Patrick Mbamalu Okeke; the Grand President, Awka Grand Commandery, Brig. Gen. Tony Okeke; the deputy traditional prime minister of Enugwu Ukwu, Chief Sir Clement Nwafor; Hon. Joseph Igwebike (President, Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese); Hon. Comrade Tochukwu Obiadi (Chairman, Planning Committee; and EA to Governor on Economic Planning, were among those who attended the flag-off of 2020 Awka Diocesan Laity Week.