. . Awka Diocese, Classmates, Mourn
By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
The Catholic Diocese of Awka, last Monday, December 9 (the Solemnity of Immaculate Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary), at the Priests’ Cemetery, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka, interred the remains of one of her committed, zealous and orderly priests, the late Rev Fr Joseph Obiora Ndibe, who died after 36 years as a Catholic priest.
The late Fr Ndibe’s death, brought to three, the number of priests buried by the Catholic Diocese of Awka, this year.
Rev Fr Ndibe, who died of pancreatic cancer in a hospital in the United States of America, on Thursday, October 10, 2019, three months after his 64th birthday, was until his death, the parish priest of St Peter’s Catholic Parish, Aguluezechukwu, Aguata LGA, Anambra State.
Ordained a Catholic priest for Awka Diocese on July 2, 1983, alongside 10 others, at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka, Fr Joseph Ndibe, fondly known as Adidas, hailed from Enugwu-Agidi, Njikoka LGA, Anambra State. He served as the pioneer parish priest of St Peter’s Parish, Oko, 1984-1988.
Fr Ndibe equally served as a parish priest at the following parishes: St Mary’s Parish, Awka, 1988-1990; St John’s Parish, Neni, 2002-2008 and St Thomas Aquinas’ Parish, GRA, Awka, 2008-2014.
Leading in the concelebrated Burial Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka, the chief mourner and Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, on behalf of the auxiliary bishop, Jonas Benson Okoye; Bishop Peter Okpaleke, and the entire faithful of the diocese, appreciated all, who cared for his late priest, especially, during his illness. He appreciated the Awka Diocesan priests in the USA and those in Lagos, for their sacrifices and efforts to bring the corpse back to the diocese, for burial.
Bishop Ezeokafor condoled with the bereaved family and commended them, especially, the late priest’s aged mother, Mrs Cecilia Ndibe, for what he described as their unique resignation to the will of God.
In his homily, the Chaplain of Catholic Men’s Organization (C.M.O.), Awka Diocese, Rev Fr Jerome Okafor, identified the serene death of Christ and his subsequent resurrection, as illustrated in the Gospel of St Luke, as the hope of the people of God.
The homilist, who was one of the deceased’s classmates, described late Fr Ndibe as a son and a man of the Church who carried out his duties in line with the teachings of the Church, the body of Christ.
According to him, Fr Ndibe’s interest while at the parishes and institutions he served as a priest, had been to bring the people of God to the mainstream of the Church. He thanked God that the late Fr Ndibe was an embodiment of an interesting life of fidelity to the Church. The homilist prayed God to accept the soul of the deceased, who according to him, was an embodiment of transparent character, and never separated himself from the Church.
This was even as the C.M.O chaplain, enjoined all to keep alive, the legacy of working in union with the Church, which, he said, the late Fr Ndibe left behind.
The Awka Diocesan Presbyterium, through the funeral oration, signed and read by the Secretary, Fr Dr Evaristus Iheanacho, described as shocking and unreal; yet true, the news of the demise of Fr Adidas, who was, according to the oration, extraordinary in his skills as an indomitable goalkeeper and tennis star.
The presbyterium, through the oration, eulogised the deceased for what it described as his affable and endearing graceful carriage, his imitable demeanour with which he organized liturgical functions, his promptness to management of time, his orderly nature and his large heartedness, which according to the oration, was equiperable to Fr Ndibe’s imposing physique.
1983 Awka Diocesan Priests through the funeral oration, signed and read by Rev Msgr Jerome Madueke, described the late Fr Ndibe as a reserved and humble priest, who was noble in character and kind hearted to a fault.
The bereaved family, through an oration that was signed and read by Ichie Okey Ndibe, recalled how his late brother, Fr Ndibe, who was the first of the 10 children of the family, surrendered to the will of God, amid the concerted efforts to better his health, within the two and half months period, of his final days on earth.
Ichie Ndibe, described his late elder brother as an epitome of amazing life of discipline, who lived out his vows obedience and celibacy in quietness.