By Precious Anaekie
The Parish Priest of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Ikenga in Aguata LGA of Anambra State, Rev. Fr. Peter Okechukwu Nwankwo, has celebrated his 25 years of priestly ordination at St. Anthony’s Ikenga on 5th January 2020.
The Nanka-born was ordained a Catholic priest for the Catholic Diocese of Awka on August 20, 1994. He was appointed as the Assistant Cathedral Administrator and Chaplain for Young Catholic Students (YCS) for Awka Deanery from 1994 to1995. As the coordinator of Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), he founded CAPAD Company Nigeria Limited and directed it from 1995 to 1999. He is currently the Parish Priest of St. Anthony’s Parish, Ikenga. He is known for Peace and Development as his trademark.
Delivering the homily, the Vicar of St. Pius X Catholic Church, Ezinifite, Rev. Fr. Jude Okoli, based his reflection on the reading of the Solemnity of the Epiphany of our Lord. He charged all to attach strict importance to the spiritual exercise of Epiphany, which he said, included encountering God and welcoming Him into our lives through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
He described the Silver Jubilarian as an inspiring personality whose inspiring attitude motivated him in enrolling into the seminary for his priestly formation. Eulogizing some virtues of Fr Nwankwo, he described him as a father, a dedicated servant of God, humble and amicable shepherd who had positively influenced many lives.
St. Anthony’s Parish, Ikenga, presented a welcome address at the celebration in which they extolled Fr. Nwankwo for his commitment to his pastoral duties and for executing many projects in their parish and community.
Some of the projects included, the renovation of the parish house; mandating all statutory bodies to open a bank account at Uzondu Microfinance Bank for better accountability; setting off outstanding cases from the court; and reducing the number of zones from 15 to 6.
Others include; building a house for a parishioner; continuation of the church building from the lintel level to roofing level; send-off organized for four priests that had served in the parish; purchase of a parish car; as well as successful organization of the pastoral visit by the Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor in 2017 with confirmation of 247 candidates, following the last pastoral visit in 2010.
In an interview with Fides, the celebrant, Fr Nwankwo, said that it was divine providence for him to celebrate 25 years’ priestly anniversary. According to him, they were 253 who began the journey; but only 38 people were ordained. He said his arrival to Ikenga Community gave him a big fear after realizing there were lots of work to do. He thanked God for the caliber of people God had used to bless him in Ikenga. In a special way, he thanked the Vicar of St. Anthony’s Ikenga, Rev. Fr. Angelo Obiakor, the Parish Pastoral Council, friends and well-wishers within and outside the community.
He thanked all who were present to celebrate with him on his priestly anniversary, as well as all those who sacrificed a lot to see that the event was successful.
Highlights of the event included welcome song presentation, Ebube Dike dance performance by altar servants, Ikwa Dance, cutting of cake and other titbits of the event which enlivened the celebration.