By Ifeoma Ezenyilmba
An Awka Diocesan Catholic priest and the parish priest of Madonna Assumpta Catholic Parish, Agulu, Anaocha L.G.A, Anambra State, Rev. Fr. Dr. Joel Okechukwu, has identified his trust in God as what has been making his priestly apostolate easier and sustaining him in his vocation.
Rev. Fr. Okechukwu, who stated this in an interview he granted to Fides on the occasion of his Silver Jubilee Priestly Anniversary, held at Madonna Assumpta Catholic Church, Agulu, November 18, 2018, noted that his trust in God was necessary, especially as the priestly vocation demanded utmost obedience.
The priest, who said he was very happy over his 25th priestly anniversary, observed that his trust in God had filled him with the grace with which he disposed himself to the priestly assignments he was given. He thanked God for his love, gift of life and success of the anniversary celebration.
Fr. Okechukwu, who is also the dean, Agulu Deanery, identified not meeting up with his spiritual life and some forms of misunderstanding with some of the parishioners as some of the difficulties he encountered in the apostolate.
The music talented Catholic priest, on his prospects for the future, said he wish to explore his newly discovered talents in music, writing and book publication, saying that he would go no working in the Lord’s vineyard, as his father goes on working.
On his advice to younger priests, Rev. Fr. Joel Okechukwu advised them to trust in God, be obedient to the Church and its leaders, be positive about the people they work with, be happy free priests and make the agenda of the Church and that of the bishop their priority, as anything on the contrary would negatively affect their priestly apostolate.
Madonna Assumpta Parish Agulu through the congratulatory address that was signed by the Vice Chairman, Parish Pastoral Council, Chief Anthony Anigbogu and the Secretary, Parish Pastoral Council, Mr. Bonaventure Obibuzor, extolled Fr. Joel Okechukwu for what it described as serving the Church generously with his God-given talents.
The parish through the address, thanked God for what it termed making Rev. Fr. Okechukwu, an enviable example of fidelity and faithfulness in the priesthood, saying that he (Fr. Joel Okechukwu), had sacrificed his personal time for the wellbeing of the parishioners. Madonna Assumpta Parish, Agulu parishioners, appreciated their parish priest for putting himself in an unfavourable situation and attended to them in their depressed and worst moments.