First Pastoral Visit in 8 Years to St Joseph’s Umuawulu

…Bishop Okoye Blesses Multiple Projects, Church Awardees

By Precious Ukeje

St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Umuawulu, on Sunday, April 11, 2021, received the Auxiliary Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, on a pastoral visit to the parish. It was the first time in eight years since a bishop was last received in such occasion at the parish.

The bishop, while on the visit, blessed several completed projects donated to the church by some parishioners. He also blessed people who received awards from the church for their services and contributions towards the growth and development of the parish.

In the same vein, the Catholic prelate led hundreds of worshippers to Christ through the Sacrament of Confirmation, where the confirmed candidates affirmed their readiness to be steadfast in their walk with God, having received the Holy Spirit, via the laying of apostolic hands and anointing with oil.

Other highpoints of the event of Bishop Okoye’s visit were the handing over of awards to some parishioners, as well as a non-Catholic of Anglican faith, whom the parish priest, Rev. Fr Benjamin Odika, said, had made huge contributions towards the growth and development of the church and by extension, Umuawualu Community.

At the reception ceremony shortly after the Holy Mass, while handing them plaques, Fr Odika informed the Auxiliary Bishop that some of the awardees had helped the church financially, as well as engaged in the completion of infrastructural projects in the community.

Also, there was blessing of and commissioning for use, of facilities donated by some of the awardees to the church.

Delivering a homily with focus on Divine Mercy Sunday, a liturgical celebration of the Holy Church on second Sunday after Easter, Bishop Okoye advised against paganism amongst Christians, urging congregants to always turn to God in prayers when they had issues.

He expressed the belief that indigenes of the community had desisted from fetish practices as individuals and families, urging them to always call on the              Blessed Virgin Mary, who he described as the mother of all homes.

Later, in an address presented by Lady Rose Nwokolo, Secretary of the Pastoral Visit Planning Committee, the parish expressed elation towards the bishop’s visit and thanked God for making their plans for the event successful.

Nwokolo said it was a good time for the shepherd to have a firsthand experience of how members of the community related with one another, and how St Joseph’s Catholic Church fared. The church also appreciated the bishop for the calibre of priests posted to their parish, including Fr Odika and Rev. Fr Charles Ogbuagu.

She described as breathtaking, the tremendous efforts of the faithful in seeing that facilities required for uninhibited worship in the parish were done seamlessly, and requested the bishop to pronounce blessings upon them, including ones who made anonymous donations.

Listing a number of projects which the parish hoped to complete soon, she urged everyone in attendance to ‘come over to Macedonia’, and see areas they could aid the parish by way of identifying projects they could complete.