How Late Monarch founded Catholicism in Adazi-Nnukwu– Bishop Okoye

By Chioma Ndife

The Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, His Lordship, Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, has attributed the founding of Catholicism in Adazi-Nnukwu Community to the late monarch, His Royal Majesty Ojiako Ezenne.

Bishop Okoye, an indigene of Adazi-Nnukwu, recognized the contributions of the late monarch towards the establishment of the Catholic Faith and the subsequent creation of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, Adazi-Nnukwu, during the launch of a book titled, ”H.R.M. Ojiako Ezenne 1857-1944, An Igbo Sage, on Sunday August 15.

Fides gathered that the book which tells the life story of Ojiako Ezenne, was written 75 years after the monarch’s death, by the daughter, Rev. Sr. Mary Francis Regis Ojiako, IHM, after 33 years of research into the life and times of the administrator per excellence.

Speaking to Fides, Bishop Okoye said the late monarch used his wisdom and wealth to seek the attention of the early missionaries who came and introduced the Catholic Faith and saw to the establishment of schools.

He revealed that Ogbuefi Ojiako Ezenne, after the establishment of schools by the early missionaries, insisted that all male flock in the community must attend the white man’s school in order to speak and act like the white man.

The Catholic prelate noted that the schools set up by early missionaries, through the effort and resources of Ojiako Ezenne, brought about the high literacy level gained by the indigenes of the community.

He said the book would be of immense benefit to the community, saying generations yet unborn would have a comprehensive understanding of faith and civilization were rooted in the community through the efforts of a man with an outstanding foresight. He said it was amazing that the town, after so many years, still kept one faith, which, he said, was the Catholic Faith.

On the significance of the book, Bishop Okoye said it would teach the younger ones the communal values which Adazi-Nnukwu was known for and the need for them to uphold the guiding principles of the forefathers.

He expressed optimism that Ojiako Ezenne would forever stand as an icon, both in Adazi-Nnukwu Community and communities around, as where his impact was greatly felt, noting that housing, feeding and provision of basic needs of priests ministering to one hundred and seven stations of the then Saint Andrew’s Parish, Adazi-Nnukwu, was not something that could have been done by a weak fellow.