...Showers Praises on Awka Diocesan Priests
By Abuchi Onwumelu
"Go ye afar, go teach all nations; bear witness unto me, on earth in every clime, and I, with you, shall be until the end time. Lovely appear over the mountains the feet of them that preach and bring good news of peace".
This was the hymn that came to mind recently when the Awka Diocesan Clergy, Religious and Laity gathered at St Paul's Catholic Church, Ugwuoba Deanery, in Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State for the Inauguration of 2018/2019 Pastoral Year, Abuchi Onwumelu reports.
The event began with a Concelebrated Pontifical Mass presided over by His Lordship, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, while the Homily was delivered by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Umezinwa.
Inaugurating the 2018/2019 Pastoral Year, Bishop Ezeokafor expressed gratitude to God for His grace and mercies in the out gone year, noting that the Diocese had grown in leaps and bounds, and that with God on their side, the Diocese would continue to move from strength to strength.
'May God who called His priests give them the grace for a fruitful apostolate in His Awka Catholic Diocesan Vineyard, all to His greater glory,' he said.
The Catholic prelate called on the priests to get into the ministry with renewed vigour and dedication, saying that their primary assignment was to win souls for Christ and also help in making the world a better living place, even as he extolled them for the role they played in the 2017/2018 Pastoral Year.
The chief shepherd of Awka Catholic Diocese enjoined the priests to guard jealously, the Church's establishments entrusted under their care, noting that the essence of floating such businesses was to make the Diocese less dependent on the lay faithful.
'I urge you to protect whatever business venture of the Diocese in your care. Find a way to grow it. Through the business, the Diocese should cater for her needs. We do not want over burdening or over levying of the laity.
'We want to be independent. Of course, you know, I have stopped all manner of levies in the Diocese except for one or two. I don't want to hear or see that people are being levied for a particular project. I want the Diocese to fund her projects through various means. The issue of levy has long been concluded.
'We have enough projects that if well managed will yield so much dividends for the Diocese. We have farms, we have schools, hospitals, banks, filling stations, printing press and so on and so forth. We need to manage these things well to enable us get to that level of independence,' Bishop Ezeokafor exhorted.
Earlier in his homily, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Umezinwa enjoined the priests to continue to discharge their duties with utmost commitment and dexterity, noting that they (Priests) were called to serve and not to be served, even as he said that their selfless service to humanity would not go unrewarded.
In their separate speeches, the Awka Diocesan Chancellor, Very Rev. Fr. Francis Chidume; Chairman of Awka Diocesan Priests Fraternity (ADPF), Very Rev. Fr. Charles Umeoji and the Awka Diocesan Director of Social Communications and Director of Fides Communications, Rev. Fr. Dr. Martin Chuks Anusi, thanked the Diocesan bishop for his fatherly love and care, noting that they would put into use all he had said.
The usual fund-raising, get-together, harvest/Bazaar organized by the ADPF was held in the parish arena after Mass with the priests' active participation.
Fides reports that the money realized from the bazaar sales would be channeled to the development of the Diocese.