By Sunny A. Ijomah
Tears rolled down the eyes of Priests and a handful of Faithful present last Wednesday evening at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha when the remains of Rev. Fr. Charles Ebele were brought in a casket.
His remains were said to have been missing after a boat he was traveling with another Priest, Rev. Fr. George Nzenuoba capsized in the River Niger and his whereabout was unknown.
Thereafter, intense prayers and search were launched to recover him dead or alive.
According to the Onitsha Archdiocesan Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Prudentius Aroh, God answered the prayers of the priests and faithful after 18 days of search up to Bayelsa State and beyond, the body was found floating somewhere at Umuikwu, Anam.
He was properly Identifed with his dress and facial structure by the team of morticians, Rev. Fr. Nzenuoba and the Nigeria Marine Police all led by Rev. Fr. Emeka Aroh.
The Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke was on hand with a handful of priests to receive the remains at Basilica of the Most Trinity, Onitsha.
Archbishop Okeke thereafter led other Priests and faithful to bury the remains at the Basilica Cemetery after which he led in a concelebrated Requiem Mass with the Auxiliary Bishop of Onitsha, Most Rev. Denis Isizoh and dozens of priests of the Onitsha Archdiocesan Presbyterium.
The brother of the deceased and other relatives were present at the burial and the mass.
Archbishop Okeke in his homily, expressed gratitude to all including Cardinal Arinze and particularly Rev. Fr. Prudentius Aroh who made extraordinary effort to recover the deceased.
He stressed that the day one becomes a priests, he must be ready to die having been configured in the person of Christ to die for other to live.
The Archbishop said that Rev. Fr. Charles died in active service and was ready to die to save others going by what transpired.
Archbishop Okeke condoled the family and the relatives of the deceased, promising that he would be accorded elaborate burial rites in due course.
Until his death, Rev. Fr. Charles Ebele was the Parish Priest of St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, Inoma, Anambra West Local Government Area of Anambra State.
It would be recalled that last month September Rev. Fr. Charles Ebele lost his life as the speed boat he was travelling on capsized in River Niger.
An eye witness has the story that his visiting Rev. Father friend was in the same boat with him when the incident happened and because he gave his life jacket to his Friend, he was helpless when the boat capsized.