Opinion

Fr. Abraham Nwali Celebrates Silver Jubilee

. . . Dedicates St. John Paul II Catholic Church

By Mercy Hill

The Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki and other christians from across the nation, on Saturday, 24th August, 2019, gathered to celebrate the priestly silver jubilee of Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Abraham Chukwuma Nwali and the dedication of St. John Paul II Catholic Church, Ugwuachara, Abakaliki.

An American Astronaut once said that, ‘one small step for man, one huge leap for mankind’. This could be said to be the principle that guided the Abakaliki born priest and Senior Special Adviser to the Ebonyi State Governor on Religion and Welfare Matters, Fr. Nwali, whose pastoral duties both as a servant of God and public servant, had deep impression in the lives of the poor, especially the physically challenged.

Fides reports that the event was celebrated in three phases, from Friday 23rd August 2019 with a lunching and exhibition of talents and skills from the physically challenged; and Saturday, 24th – Sunday 25th August, 2019 were thanksgiving and church dedication.

The event on Saturday, was preceded by a Holy Mass, which was presided over by the Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Michael N. Okoro with other concelebrants at St. John Paul II Church, Ugwuachara.

In his homily during the Holy Mass, the Director, Fides Media Ltd, Awka and classmate of the celebrant, Rev.Fr. Dr Martin Anusi, based his reflection on, ‘You are Abraham’ culling some of his examples from the biblical story of Abraham, who was known for his selfless sacrifices to God and humanity. He likened the attributes and characteristics of Abraham, to that of the celebrant, noting that Fr. Nwali had been keen to the welfare of the indigent right from his years in the Seminary, recalling how he cared for the aged and the disabled even when he had nothing compared to today.

For the Church building, he said, just as Abraham of old built the Temple of Worship, Fr. Abraham, the jubilarian had erected St. John Paul II Catholic Church, Ugwuachara.

The homilist went further to acknowledge his contributions in empowering the less privileged with skills and other educative programmes. He however advised him not to allow his strengths to be the source of his fall.

Fr Anusi, said this as he urged him to avoid all forms of pride, noting that a man’s temptation does not only come from his weaknesses but also where his strength lied.

Appreciating Fr. Nwali’s Superiors, Fr. Anusi, commended the Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese and the Governor of Ebonyi State for giving him the opportunity to express his talents and accomplish his apostolate.

Earlier in an interview with Fides, the celebrant, Fr. Abraham Nwali, noted that the celebration of his Silver Jubilee was not to receive anything but to give out to God through thanksgiving and uplifting the downtrodden in the society. He said he put in his resources and strength built the Church with over fifty million Naira, in appreciation to God for his grace throughout the 25 years his priestly mission.

Speaking after the Mass, the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi state, Barr. Erics Kelechi Igwe,who represented the Governor of the State, His Excellency David Umahi, described the Jubilarian as indeed ‘Abraham’ just as the homilist noted. He commended him for erecting a wonderful edifice for God and for seizing the opportunity and position he found himself to better humanity. Even so, he advised other clerics to follow the good foundation Fr. Nwali, had laid and replicate his good deeds.

Highlights of the event were prayers of dedication, thanksgiving and songs of comradeship rendered by priests present.

A cross section of some Priests and Religious during the Holy Mass
Government officials present at the event
Some priests celebrating with Fr. Nwali during the Holy Mass
Fr. Martin Anusi during the homily
A mammoth crowd inside the church auditorium at the Holy Mass
Classmates of the Celebrant at Ikot-Ekpene: Fr Martin Iwudo (left) Fr. Martin Anusi (right)
Man O’ War during their parade of honour to the celebrant during the Holy Mass.
(Left)Offertory dancers adding colour to the celebration. (Right)The Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese,Most Rev. Michael N. Okoro,(middle) leading in the Mass with the celebrant Fr. Nwali and other concelebrant.

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