By Onyinyechi Ekoyo and Vivian Ononiwu
It was a moment of joy as the Knights of St John International, KSJI, Commandery 434 and Laux 363 of Awka Catholic Diocese celebrated her Forty Years Anniversary.
The event took place at the Knights of St John Commandery Hall, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka, on 30 September 2023, featuring a parade by the cadets and juniors of the KSJI; keynote address; cutting of anniversary cake; and presentation of awards by Most Rev Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, represented by his secretary, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Ifeanacho.
During the homily, the homilist, Fr Ifeanacho, thanked God for granting the Knights of St John International the grace over the past forty years. He urged the Knights to continue to stand firm in prayers, noting that it would always help them in doing the right thing, bearing witness to the word of God and doing things accordingly as the leaders of the Church, the masses looked up to.
‘As you celebrate forty years of existence, you are also expected to remember the positive impact you have made as a person or as individuals towards the work and development of the Church, things you will be remembered for as leaders of the Church,’ Fr Ifeanacho exhorted.
Speaking with Fides, the Spiritual Adviser of Commandery 432 and Laux 363 Awka, Rev Fr Levi Ukor, thanked God for the gift of life and for making it possible that the KSJI’s 40th Anniversary be celebrated during his tenure
His words: ‘I really thank God for today’s programme; 40 years is not a joke. It is an opportunity to thank God for keeping us from the beginning till now. I feel so happy being part of this programme.’
He also commended the awardees of the day for the good work they had done, urging them to put in their best as the reward of good work was more work.
‘The ones they have done are good but we want them to do more and continue with the good work so that at the end, God will reward them.’ the cleric affirmed.
In the same vein, the President of the Commandery 434 Awka, Major Vin Chike Otikpa, thanked God for the opportunity of being alive to witness this year’s anniversary, adding that He had been faithful, having answered them anytime they called on Him for the past 40 years and had not allowed them to face any temptation beyond them.
In his appreciation speech, Major Otikpa thanked everyone, especially the Planning Committee, for a job well done, adding that they had been wonderful from the day of the committee’s formation as a good number of them left their families and jobs to see that things went accordingly. He further prayed God to reward them and lead them back safely to their destinations.
The Anniversary celebration was well attended by priests and dignitaries, including Rev. Fr Maximus Okonkwo, the Education Secretary of the Diocese; Rev Fr Chika Okparaike and Senator Uche Ekwunife, former member representing Anambra Central Senatorial District and the DG, South East Governors’ Forum, among others.