….Lauds Awka Diocese for Lively Worship, Hospitality, Bags Ezi Nna Title
By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
The Catholic bishop of Linz Diocese, Austria, Dr. Manfred Scheuer has extolled the Igbo Catholic Community of Nigeria over what he described as lively worship that comprised of a complete groups of individuals of the parents, youths and children.
Bishop Scheuer, who stated this when he visited the Catholic Diocese of Awka –owned St Michael’s Catholic Parish, Uga, Aguata L.G.A, Anambra State, Nigeria on July 15, 2018, said he was happy over what he saw in the parish, as against what was applicable in Austria, where they had church buildings, but lacked appreciable worshipping communities.
The bishop, who was at the parish for the First Solemn Thanksgiving Mass of his Uga-born Catholic priest, Rev Fr. Francis Abanobi, said he was happy over the good relationship between Nigeria and Austria, especially in faith and hospitality. Bishop Scheuer said he was delighted over the special warm welcome he received in Awka Catholic Diocese and Uga Town, noting that Awka Catholic Diocese and indeed, Igbos have proved to be endowed with unique spirit of hospitality.
He thanked Rev Fr. Francis Abanobi for offering himself for the priestly vocation as well as his mother, Mrs. Christiana Abanobi and the Abanobi Family of Umueze Village, Uga, for the gift of their son to priesthood.
The bishop, who was full of gratitude, said he was delighted to have ordained the two Awka Diocesan-born Catholic priests, Rev Fr. Francis Abanobi of Uga and Rev Fr Maximus Nwolisa from Ichida, both in Anambra State for his Catholic Diocese of Linz, Austria on June 29, 2018 (the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul).
According to Bishop Scheuer, Rev. Frs. Francis Abanobi and Maximus Nwolisa were exceptional, and distinguished themselves throughout the process of their formation to priesthood.
Dr. Manfred Scheuer was earlier received by the traditional ruler of Uga, HRH Igwe Chidi Stephen Ezenwugo in his palace, where the Igwe in appreciation of the unique fatherly love of the bishop on Rev Fr. Francis Abanobi, conferred the Ezi Nna I of Uga Title on him (Bishop Scheuer).
In his remarks, the Uga-born Catholic priest of Linz Diocese, Austria, Rev. Fr. Francis Abanobi, thanked God for his love and sustenance on him throughout the process of his formation to priesthood. Rev Fr. Abanobi, who was visibly delighted, thanked the delegation of his bishop, Most Rev Dr. Manfred Scheuer, a good number of priests, seminarians and lay faithful from Catholic Diocese of Linz, who flew into Nigeria to be a part of his first solemn thanksgiving Mass at his home parish in Uga.
He commended the delegation of his mother, Mrs. Christiana Abanobi; his brothers; the vice chairman of St. Michael’s Parish Pastoral Council, Chief Francis Agba, with his wife, Lolo Uzoma Agba; the immediate past parish priest of St. Michael’s Parish, Uga, and current parish priest of St Joseph’s Parish, Umunze, Rev. Fr. Basil Ezekeli, and others, who graced his June 29th, 2018 priestly ordination at The Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Linz, Austria.
Fr. Abanobi thanked Very Rev. Msgr. Prof. JohnBosco Akam and others who supported him throughout his formation for their goodwill. He extolled his mother, Mrs. Christiana Abanobi who also celebrated her 60th Birthday and thanksgiving for retirement from civil service on the occasion, for her love and the 35 purposeful years she gave to her teaching vocation, saying that a teacher is a moulder.
The Mass also doubled with the First Solemn Thanksgiving Mass of another new indigenous priest of St Michael’s Parish, Uga, Rev. Fr. Monk Cyril Ejezie, who was ordained at Holy Cross Cistercian Monastery Illah by the former Catholic Bishop of Ahiara Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Peter Ebere Okpaleke on July 14, 2018.