…As Deanery Awards Patrons and Patronesses
By Amarachi Okpunobi
In a bid to maintain the uniqueness of their ministry in the church, the act of service and selflessness in Altar knights, the Catholic Association of Altar Servers of Nigeria, CASAN, Awka 1 Deanery, held their convention from 6th – 8th September, 2018, at Archbishop A.K Obiefuna Retreat Pastoral and Conference Centre, Okpuno, Awka South L.G. A, Anambra State.
The convention witnessed the presence of representatives of the parishes and chaplaincies in the deanery, which included, St. Patrick's Cathedral Awka; St. Joseph the Worker Chaplaincy Awka; St. Thomas Aquinas GRA Awka; St. Anthony Ifite Awka; St. Peter's Nkwelle Awka; St. Gabriel Okpuno; St, James Chaplaincy Ndiora as well as the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, Okpuno.
Presenting his Paper titled 'Christ to others through Me - A Faithful Altar Server of Our Time', the Director of the Directorate of Sports, Awka Diocese, DOSAD, who is also the Assistant Director of Fides Communications, Rev. Fr. Coach Obinna Obiora Dike, represented by the President of Altar Servers Awka 1 Deanery, Emmanuel Offodile, charged the faithful to serve with love as all that would be done was for Christ and His Church. He called them apostles of Christ, even as he encouraged them to believe in the Holy Mass and make their intentions known to Christ.
The paper presenter also advised them to abstain from sin which may cause them to be unfit for the service they render to the church.
Also during the Mass, Rev. Fr. Fidelis Izuakor, who presented a paper titled ''Altar Servers as Extra Ordinary Ministers'', pinpointed that Altar serving is a privilege, enjoined them to serve God with all diligence as they are ambassadors of Christ. The cleric urged the executive members to teach the young ones with all dedication so as to ensure continued progress of their ministry in all ramification.
Addressing Altar knights, the Chaplain of Altar Servers Awka 1 Deanery, Rev. Fr. Joshua Anenye, expressed his unhappiness over the disrespectful attitude of some of the servers, even as he advised them to desist from politicising the offices of the association.
Fr. Anenye told them to recognize their religious positions and make positive impact with the opportunity, just as he beckoned on them to keep the sanctuary of God holy and avoid incessant movement during any Eucharistic Celebration which causes distractions.
Expressing his heartfelt delight over the success of the convention, the deanery president, Emmanuel Offodile, thanked God and all who honoured the invitation, while he appreciated the Bishop Emeritus of Ahiara Diocese, Bishop Ebelechukwu Okpaleke, and Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor, of Awka Diocese; Fr. Mathew Attansey, Episcopal Vicar of Awka Deanery and their Chaplain, Fr. Joshua Anenye for their support.Even as he said that it was the second convention for Altar Servers since its creation in Awka1 deanery. He also made it known that the deanery hosts annual lectureship for a continued mentorship of the Altar knights and growth of the association.
Among the awardees were Mrs. F.A Ogbodo, Mrs Grace Okonkwo as well as Ifeanyi Okonkwo, president Emeritus of Altar Servers, St. Thomas Aquinas GRA Awka.
Drama presentation, dance, debate, quiz among others formed the climax of the convention.