By Mercy Hill
Saturday, 18 April 2021 was a memorable day at St. Felix Catholic Church, Otollo Nnewi, as the parishioners in thanksgiving to God, celebrated the priestly silver jubilee of Rev Fr Dr Moses Valentine Afamefuna Chukwujekwu.
The Mass began with a Holy Eucharist led by the silver jubilarian with part of the introductory rite done by the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Most Rev. Hilary Odili Okeke (who was in cathedra) and concelebrated by many other priests and religious.
Very Reverend Father Moses Chukwujekwu for the past twenty-five years had journeyed in priesthood with different responsibilities involved and is presently active as a fidei donum priest (i.e, a diocesan priest sent as a missionary to another parish or area outside his diocese) in Austria.
In his homily during the Mass, Rev Fr Dr Martin Anusi reminded the church that God had given everyone the raw material to become all they were called to be. Noting that it was then their duty to keep harnessing it by hardwork, listening to God, fervent prayers as well as in relationship with others.
He cited his examples with Moses, St. Paul and other biblical characters whose flaws never stopped them from exploring their raw materials and then through persistent hardwork, achieved their goals.
Giving a backdrop of the life of the Jubilarian, Fr Anusi noted that Fr Chukwujekwu was his classmate at St. Joseph Major Seminary, Ikot Ekpene and had since then been a model to other students. He recounted how mentorship, freedom, responsibility, orientation towards versatility, not giving up easily and gratitude were the themes that guided the life of Rev Fr Chukwujekwu, even before his years as a seminarian. He charged parents, teachers, priests, guardians and all who have the responsibility of bringing people up to employ these tools, saying that these themes were essential for the growth and development of people.
He described the celebrant, Very Reverend Fr Chukwujekwu, as a vibrant and eucharistic administrator who believes in hardwork, versatility and resilience, even as he said that Fr Chukwujekwu loved investing in knowledge which was evident in the number of languages he had learnt. He thanked Fr Chukwujekwu for leaving a legacy of what had helped to make him an exemplary priest and person in a written work, HERE I AM, LORD! My Vocation, My Life, published for his priestly silver jubilee. The work, according to Fr Anusi, was published originally in German, HIER BIN ICH, O HERR! Meine Berufung, mein Leben.
In appreciation to God for his mercies and grace through the journey of priesthood, the celebrant, Rev Fr Chukwujekwu, said that his life journey had been extraordinary and full of great encounters that had enriched him, stating that it took courage, dedication, focus and determination to get to twenty-five years in the priestly vocation. He thanked all that graced the occasion and prayed for better years ahead.
Highpoint of the Holy Mass was the melodious hymns from the parish choir which helped the faithful to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in a meaningful way and the reception by the parish community and friends for the silver jubilarian.