By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
Saint Peter's Catholic Church, Adazi-Ani in Anaocha L.G.A of Anambra State, was last Sunday, July 22, 2018, greeted with human, vehicular and interesting activities, for the First Solemn Thanksgiving Mass and grand reception in honour of the 17th indigenous Catholic priest of the community, Rev Fr. Livinus Chinedum Okaforonyilo.
Rev. Fr. Okaforonyilo was ordained for the Catholic Diocese of Awka alongside 12 other new priests by the Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor on July 21, 2018.
Leading in his First Solemn Thanksgiving Mass which also coincided with the thanksgiving and reception in honour of the finally professed Sr. Paracleta Mario Oguejiofor of the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary Congregation, Rev. Fr. Okaforonyilo, thanked God that he was among the 13 individuals that were ordained the Catholic priests of God out of over 100 of them who were admitted in the junior seminary for the formation.
The new priest appreciated his parents, siblings and all, who supported him throughout his priestly formation, especially Sir & Lady Cyril Okoye (Akurienne), who he described as his special sponsor, and Sir Dennis Omile of St Mary's Parish, Nimo, his seminary sponsor.
He prayed for the repose of the souls of his late brothers, Mr. JerryMario Okaforonyilo, who died in his spiritual year seminary days and Mr. Tochukwu Okaforonyilo, who died shortly after his diaconate ordination in December, 2017.
In his homily, the Episcopal Vicar of Ekwulobia Catholic Region, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Ignatius Nnaemeka Onwuatuegwu, described priesthood as a sacrifice to God, saying that priests gave themselves as sacrifice to God for the salvation of others.
Drawing from the readings of the Sunday, Rev. Fr. Onwuatuegwu, who is also the parish priest of St Joseph's Pro-Cathedral Parish, Ekwulobia, charged the new priest to, as co-inheritors of Jesus Christ, remain focused in serving God, who gave him a share in the sacred priesthood.
Fr. Onwuatuegwu, who is a former parish priest of St Peter's Parish, Adazi-Ani, thanked Adazi-Ani Catholic Community for her consistent notable supports to the priests from 2008 till date. He thanked God for the increased gift of priesthood and religious to the Catholic Community, and noted that the community has been giving the priests very good and functional cars which had continued to aid them in their duties.
In his remarks, the chairman of Adazi Ani Catholic Pastoral Council, Rev. Fr. Donatus Esiegbue, commended Sir Cyril Okoye (KSJI), for the two new cars he donated for Rev. Fr. Okaforonyilo and the deacon, who will be ordained in September, 2018. According to Fr. Esiegbue, Sir Okoye, who in the past, donated new cars for the priests, has been very instrumental to the growth and development of Adazi-Ani Catholic Community.
Speaking to the press, Sir Cyril Okoye (Akurienne), said his love for God, love for humanity, belief and faith in the Catholic Church were what inspired the notable goodwill he has been known for. He said undeterred fear for God, divine protection and upliftment were among his benefits from God.
Okoye, who is the Vice Chairman of Adazi-Ani Catholic Pastoral Council, advised the new priest to keep to the faith, remain focused and obedient to the Catholic faith so as to excel in his vocation.
Also speaking, the CEO of Chicotel Investment, Chief Chinedu (Ochendo), congratulated the new priest, and prayed for God's continuous blessings, wisdom and grace for his successful priestly vocation.