By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
Two years after the ordination of the 12th indigenous priest of the community, the entire Ogbunka Catholic Community, last Sunday, July 5, rolled out the drums for a memorable reception in honour of the 13th indigenous Catholic priest of the town, Rev Fr Emmanuel Ogadimma Ugochukwu Okoro.
Rev Fr Okoro, who was the first priest of his Isiokpu Village, was on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, ordained a Catholic priest for Umuahia Diocese at Mater Dei Cathedral, Umuahia, by the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, Most Rev Lucius Ugorji.
Leading in his July 5, 2020 First Solemn Holy Mass at St Monica’s Catholic Church, Ogbunka, Orumba South LGA, Anambra State, the new priest, Fr Okoro, said the Holy Mass was in thanksgiving to God for His grace and sustenance on him in the course of his formation to priesthood, as well as to seek God’s blessings on all who supported and stood by him throughout his formation period. He prayed that the blessings of God from his First Solemn Mass would abide with all who joined in the thanksgiving Mass.
In his homily, the 12th indigenous priest of Ogbunka, Rev Fr Norbert Ugwa, described the Holy Mass as a thanksgiving sacrifice to God.
He urged the new priest to be available to the people of God, administer the sacraments to them and treasure always, the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist which he celebrated, saying that those were what God expected of him.
The homilist, who reminded the laity of a prophet’s reward that awaited them, enjoined them to pray for and support their priests so as to enable them (the priests) to succeed in their vocation, saying that those were what they owed the priests.
He however appreciated the lay faithful for their support to their priests and commended the parents of the new priest, Ezinna Marcel and Mrs Lydia Okoro, for, according to him, supporting their son to the priesthood.
The Ogbunka Catholic Community through a reception address that was signed by the Chairman, Central Pastoral Council, Rev Fr Jerry Okafor; the Chairman, Central Ordination Committee, Barr Emmanuel Osunkwo and the Secretary, Central Ordination Committee, Hon John Ibeagwa; thanked God for the share he gave to Fr Okoro in the sacred priesthood.
The Community through the address, urged the new priest to brace up for the challenges ahead and appreciated the priest’s eldest brother, Mr Philip Nnamdi Okoro (Nwakaibeya), for the provision of a car gift for the priest, as well as commended all who supported the event.
Highlights of the event were solemn blessings of the people of God by the new priests, presentation of gifts to the new priest and cutting of the event cake.
Among the dignitaries that graced the event were the Catholic Bishop of Ekwulobia Diocese, Most Rev Peter Ebere Okpaleke, who was represented by the Chancellor of the diocese, Rev Fr Lawrence Nchekwube Nwankwo and the President, Catholic Women’s Organization, Umuahia Diocese, Lady Victoria A. Aliba.