By Kizito Nonso Umennadi
The Catholic Bishop of Ekwulobia Diocese, Most Rev Peter Ebere Okpaleke has expressed deep appreciation to the Presbyterium of the Diocese for their quality bond of friendship, fraternity, brotherhood,unity and doggedness that exist not only among themselves as priests but also with the their Bishop while at the same time exhorting them to continue along that enviable path of honor and dignity without ever relenting.
The Catholic Prelate of the newly created Diocese of Ekwulobia (CADEK) made this very remarkable observation on Tuesday, March 30,2021 during the celebration of the Mass of Chrism and Cathedraticum for the year 2021 for Achina Region which was held at St Charles Catholic Church premises being the regional headquarters for Achina Region.
Delivering a spiritually rich and moving homily on the occasion that involves renewal of priestly vows and Catedraticum offerings by parishes and other associations in the Church, Bishop Okpaleke charged the priests to continue to be faithful in their service to God and humanity wherever they are working while reminding them that they are custodians of ‘dignity that stretches far back in time and thus with a responsibility of always ensuring that they keep them intact for others who will certainly come after us’.
While noting great strides of their Ancestors in the Faith like the late Archbishop AK Obiefuna, Bishop Shanaham, Msgri Martin Mmaduka, Nathaniel Obiagba and Cyril Ezenduka, Frs O’neil,Aaron Ekwu amongst so many others, that they remain guided especially in moments of trials by their examplary pastoral life and ministry emphasizing strongly that the gift of the priesthood they are privileged to have is a costly one that should be guarded and protected just like the Ancestors in the Faith did while alive.
Drawing from the letter to the Hebrews 12:1-17,the Bishop of CADEK told priests to always remember a large crowd of witnesses surrounding them in the Faith of the Catholic Church, rid themselves of any encumbrance especially sin, look up to Jesus the founder of the Faith,
who suffered so many contradictions from evil people while remaining steadfast, strive at all times for peace and holiness of life, take corrections in good faith as coming from the Lord and never be an obstacle or ‘a bitter plant that springs up to poison and corrupt’ the Faith of the people but to be rather God’s possessions while continuing to spread the Gospel without fear or favour, leading souls to heaven at all moment of their lives even as they remain fulfilled in their area of work.
After the post communion prayers, all the nineteen parishes in the region not excluding all other associations trouped out in great numbers joyfully for the Cathedraticum offerings with money for the developmental strides at the diocesan level and food items which were judiciously distributed to the poor and needy in the Church and beyond.