…Bishop Ezeokafor Urges Christians to be Christ-Like
By Mercy Hill
Testimonies have it that saints are ordinary people and normal humans who have lived holy lives in obedience to God’s will and command and are now in the abode of God, making intercessions for the Living.
Fr. Aaron Ejikemeuwa Ekwu is not an exemption of who a saint is. He was a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, who After living what was generally thought to be a holy life here on earth, as testified by all the faithful who were part of his apostolate, has continued to stand as a beacon of holiness to many.
The process for his canonization was started after his death in 1989, by the then Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev. Dr. Simon Akwali Okafor, in a Holy Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka, on 23rd November, 2002. This came in the wake of investigations into his life, as well as testimonies of people.
The Catholic Diocese of Awka, November, 24 2018, at St Patrick’s Cathedral, held a memorial mass and exhibition of Fr Ekwu’s personal and priestly garments, comprising his soutane, pictures, books and robes, to show respect and admiration for his exemplary life.
In his homily during the mass, the Rector, Holy Family Spiritual Year Seminary, Fr. PaulMary Chukwukebe, urged Christians to live a Christ-life, so that even in death they would be remembered for their impact on Christendom. He advised Christians not to pitch their tents in the world, as the death of a good Christian was celebrated in heaven.
He commended Fr. Ekwu for his life on earth which he described as a spurring factor to many Christians, even as he prayed that the lives of believers would be in Christ just like Fr. Aaron Ejikemeuwa Ekwu.
For their parts, the Postulator for the canonization process in Awka Diocese, Fr. Innocent Nwafor, and the Chancellor of the Diocese, Fr. Francis Chidume, testified to the good deeds of the late Fr. Ekwu, describing him as generous even till death.
He stated that the memorial and exhibition were held to pay respect to him, as well as to create an avenue for people who believed to have physical contact with his personal belongings.
Speaking after the mass, the Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship Paulinus Ezeokafor, appreciated all for coming to the memorial/exhibition, stating that late Fr. Ekwu was known for his generosity and meekness by all that encountered him during his apostolate. He urged Christians to live their lives in the fear and will of God.
One of the testifiers, Mrs Bernadette Ikegbunam, narrated a story of how she was healed from pile through Fr. Ekwu’s intercession. She got to know Fr Ekwu personally as a teacher in a school where Fr. Ekwu taught moral instructions. According to her, after a medical diagnosis proved that she needed surgery to get cured of her ailment, she proceeded to Fr. Ekwu’s grave on All Soul’s Day where she pleaded with the late priest to intercede for her healing.
Returning to the hospital three days later, the doctor informed her that the pile had miraculously gone.
It was also a similar story for Mr and Mrs Felix Okorie, who were very close friends of Fr. Ekwu, but had remained without children for 15years. Mrs Okorie narrated that Fr Ekwu had visited her in the dream on the day he had the accident that eventually led to his death. In the dream she was handed a Rosary and prayer booklet from Fr Ekwu who had appeared to her in a dazzling circle of light. In the dream, Fr. Ekwu had touched her stomach before she saw him no more. After the experience that night, she realized she got pregnant the next month and had since then had five more kids.
Some other people recalled how Fr. Ekwu emptied his own account just to cater for their needs.
All who had experienced Fr Ekwu during his lifetime testified to his generosity, piety and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Members of his family present were Pius Ekwu, Matthew Ekwu, Abigail Ekwu, Martin Ekwu, and Agnes Ekwu.
Procession and prayers at his grave side, as well touching of his materials by the lay faithful marked the highlights of the event.