…. Empowers Less Privileged, Physically Challenged
By Onyinye Ekoyo and Vivian Ononiwu
The 50th Birthday Celebration of Rev. Fr. Cyprian Chikezie – Okanga Jesus – was a memorable occasion filled with love, laughter, and goodwill. Friends, family members, colleagues and well-wishers, gathered at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Awgbu, to celebrate the special milestone of a man who had touched the lives of many through his charitable and humanitarian works.
As one of the most inspiring Catholic priests of the time, Fr. Okanga has become known for his selflessness, compassionate and dedicated service to humanity. The celebration of his 50th Birthday was therefore, an opportunity for the community to appreciate and celebrate the man who had devoted his life to touching and transforming lives positively.
In an interview with Fides, one of the bosom friends of the celebrant, Rev. Ezeugo Chinonso, who could not hide his feelings, said, ‘He is my very good friend. I have known him for 10 years now and he has been so good to me. He sacrifices for me and I sacrifice for him, and that’s why I’m here today. I can’t explain how the relationship started but all I can say is that the relationship is growing on a daily basis.
‘Concerning the book he wrote, I urge every Christian that wants to be happy to read it because all you need to overcome and be happy is contained in the book and I pray that God will continue to bless and keep Okanga Jesus for us because he is not living for himself but others.’
Speaking with Fides, Rev. Fr. Francis Michael Enyosiobi (Jesu Nwannaa) said Fr Okanga was one of the priests whose lifestyle inspired him.
Chief Chukwujikwu Akpako (Onowu Jesus), who also doubled as the chairman of the occasion, described Fr Okanga as second to none since St Theresa’s Parish started.
‘In his words, ‘ I know this parish started about 20 years ago, but I have not seen any like him. I do know how to say it but I love the way he treats people, the love he shows to me and my family, the advice and so many others.’
The ceremony was marked by different activities aimed at showcasing the celebrant’s life and times. The highlight of the event was the presentation of 100 bags of 10kg rice to the less privileged, a way through which the celebrant gave back to society.
Furthermore, Fr. Okanga recently published a book, “The Joy of a Christian to Pray and to Love”, which was published by Fides Media was also dedicated and launched at the event. The book, a collection of his teachings and reflections, cuts across various aspects of a Christian’s life, inspiring and guiding Christians on the path of righteousness. It was yet another reminder of the limitless wisdom and insight of the celebrant.
The grand celebration was testament to the impact Fr. Okanga had made on society. It was an opportunity to celebrate a life of service, dedication, and compassion. The numerous guests who attended the event included Rev. Ezeugo Chinonso; Rev. Fr. FrancisMichael Enyosiobi (Jesu Nwannaa) and Chief Chukwujikwu Akpako (Onowu Jesus), who paid glowing tributes to the celebrant and shared testimonies of how he had touched their lives positively and impacted their faith.
Fr. Okanga’s life and work have been nothing short of impactful. His passion and commitment to the needs of people he comes in contact with have endeared him to many.
He has always been passionate about reaching out to the less privileged, especially the physically challenged, who stereo-typically experience discrimination, neglect and selective exclusion. Through his dedicated service, he reached out to the physically challenged, demonstrating again the maxim that it takes courage and determination to change the world.
Despite his many achievements, Fr. Okanga comparatively remains humble and down-to-earth and always upholds the values of service, love and compassion. He has always insisted that the joy of life and Christian faithful is not in its length, but in the love and positive impact one has had on others.
In conclusion, Fr. Okanga’s 50th Birthday Celebration was a remarkable event that demonstrated his commitment and passion to helping those in need. His effort was a reminder to the world that for it to become a better place, particularly for the less privileged, we all need to emulate Okanga Jesus, be more compassionate and caring towards others. Indeed, it was a remarkable day as the celebrant was showered with love, respect, and admiration.