. . . Fr. Chiegboka, Priests, Friends Pour Encomium
By Uchechukwu Enem
Msgr. Prof. John Paul Chukwuemeka Nzomiwu is among six of his surviving classmates to celebrate his 50th Priestly Anniversary. The celebration, on 6th January, 2020, was held at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, Adazi Nnukwu, where he had his first priestly ministry.
50 years are not 50days and so, hundreds of Priests within and outside the diocese, gathered to celebrate an iconic priest and an erudite academic on his 50th Priestly Anniversary.
The Foundational pastor, Msgr. Nzomiwu was born on January 13th, 1942 and was ordained on April 19, 1970. He held so many key positions as he was the first Cathedral Administrator, First Chancellor and Diocesan Secretary with the powers of a Vicar General. He is known to be the brain of so many structures and developments in Awka Diocese. He was among the very few selected and found appointable to serve as foundation staff of the present Nnamdi Azikwe University in 1992.
Msgr. Nzomiwu is known to be an intelligent and strong priest that at his retirement age of sixty-five at Nnamdi Azikwe University, he was still needed as a contract staff in both undergraduate and post graduate programmes of the Department of Religion and Human Relations. At age 70, he was still found worthy to be invited to start the highly needed Department of Religion and Society at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University as its first Head of Department.
Fides gathered in an interview with the celebrant that he feels so much fulfilled as a priest. He confirmed that the challenges in priesthood and as a lecturer in the university was tough as he thanked God for strength and Grace during his life ministry. He advised young priests to be steadfast and pray in every circumstance.
In his words of appreciation, Msgr. Nzomiwu thanked all for coming to the event. He thanked Fr. Anthony Chiegboka for his resilient and good habit of celebrating elderly priests. He thanked all the bishops in Onitsha Ecclesiastical provence and priests within and outside the diocese for their immense contribution to the celebration.
Earlier in the homily, Rev. Fr Joseph Nwanna, likened Msgr. Nzomiwu as an encyclopedia of Awka Diocese. Fr Nwanna who has worked closely with Msgr. Nzomiwu, said the 50th anniversary was symbolic because it preserves history and value. He eulogized some of the virtues of Nzomiwu as a model and as a man that fights for justice.
The Convener, Rev. Fr Prof. Anthony Chiegboka, who is in the habit of celebrating elderly priests, wrote a beautiful citation of the celebrant. According to him, working with Msgr. Nzomiwu, has been a big blessing to him and to the church. He thanked all who contributed immensely to the success of the golden jubilee celebration and prayed for Gods blessings upon them.