Bishop Ezeokafor on 5th Pastoral Visit to America

…Meets with ADPUSA…Confers Life Membership to 4 Members of CWO

My Love is with you all in Christ Jesus,’ were the soothing and heartwarming words from the last verse of the sixteenth chapter of the First Letter of St. Paul (I Cor. 16:24) with which the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, addressed Awka Diocesan Priests in the United States of America (ADPUSA) and Awka Diocesan Catholic Action Network (ADCAN) on the occasion of his Pastoral Visit to them on June 3rd and 4th, 2023, respectively.

The Bishop who last visited the Awka Diocesan Priests and Laity in the United States of America in June 2018, was received with great joy, report Rev. Frs. Matthew Udobi and Constantine Echichechi Okoli.

The 2-day event started on Saturday, June 3, 2023, as Awka Diocesan priests resident in the United States of America converged on St. Boniface Martyr Catholic Church, Sea Cliff, Long Island, New York, for the long awaited reunion with the Bishop, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, who was in the United States of America for his annual vacation.

The day’s event began with a Holy Mass, presided over by the Bishop and concelebrated by about 32 priests who were present. During his homily, the Bishop said that such reunions helped the priests in consolidating their fraternity, even as he asked them to pray for a Nigeria that was bedeviled by social, economic and political issues.

He thanked those who organized the event (the Episcopal Vicar for Awka Diocesan Priests in the USA, Fr. Anthony Ike and his team) and the priests in charge of the parish where the reunion took place.

The meeting proper followed the Mass, with the visibly excited Awka Diocesan Priests in the United States of America (ADPUSA), in their address which was read by Fr. Livinus Obianisi, welcoming and thanking the Bishop for the Pastoral Visit and for what they described as the many humongous pastoral initiatives he was undertaking for the growth and development of the diocese.

In the address, ADPUSA expressed concerns even as they sought clarifications on the developments in the diocese. In the same vein, the Bishop, in his address, titled, “My love is with you all in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 16:24), attended to many of the questions and issues raised. He spoke on the new developments in the diocese; called on them to keep supporting the diocese and to keep being good ambassadors of Christ and the Church.

The reunion was a huge success and other highlights included exchange of pleasantries and light refreshments.

On the Second day; Sunday, June 4, 2023, the Bishop was at Sacred Heart Church, Bloomfield, New Jersey, where he presided over a solemn Eucharistic Celebration at 3.00pm. In attendance were over 250 lay faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Awka resident in the United States of  America.

In his homily, the Bishop said he was delighted being among them and expressed joy at the growth of the Catholic Faith among them. Highlights during the Mass was the conferment of the prestigious ministry of Life Membership to four privileged members of the Catholic Women’s Organization, USA Chapter. The Mass was followed immediately by a civic reception organized by Awka Diocesan Catholic Action Network (ADCAN) in America.

In their address which was co-signed by the Episcopal Vicar Laity, Fr. Emmanuel Otiaba; ADCAN Laity Navigator, Sir Don Anigbogu, and Director of CWO, USA, Lady Tobe Nwangwu, they warmly welcomed the Bishop, expressed their concerns and challenges, and recounted historically their growth.

‘CWO Awka Diocese U.S.A Chapter, was inaugurated in 2016 with three branches: New Jersey, Massachusetts and Allied States and New York. Through lots of dedication, selfless service and God’s grace, that little mustard seed has nourished, nurtured and continues to wax and blossom. Presently, we are honoured to proclaim that, CWO Awka Diocese has extended to 13 states in the U.S.A Chapter and Canada,’ the address read.

For his own part, the Bishop thanked them for the warm reception and for carrying the light and gift of faith which their background extended to the United States of America. He urged them to be committed in their pursuit of the salvation of their souls through Christian love and service.

‘Enjoy serving the Lord and He will give you what you want,’ (Psalm 37:4), the Bishop exhorted them.