* * As Bishop Okoye Blesses Perfectly-Finished Our Lady of Fatima Grotto, Says it’s Best in Awka Diocese
* * Parish Seeks Over N4M for Debts
By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
The auxiliary bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Jonas Benson Okoye, in a well-attended ceremony on Sunday, September 30, 2018, blessed a Millions of Naira worth perfect-finished Our Lady of Fatima Grotto (Mkpuke Nne Anyi Di Aso) at St John's Parish, Umuokpu-Awka, Awka South L.G.A, Anambra State.
The Marian Grotto project which was started off on September 8, 2017, and completed on September 8, 2018, the Birthday of Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), was started by the parish Catholic Women's Organisation (C.W.O), so as to give Holy Mother Mary a perfect room in John's House (St John's Parish).
According to the address of welcome signed and presented by the parish C.W.O President, Mrs. Cecilia Nnanwude, the need for the Marian Grotto, was in line with the responsibility which Jesus Christ gave to his apostle, St John, to take care of his mother as stated in John Chapter 19 verses 26-27, of the Holy Bible. She observed that it was contradicting that at the house of St John, who took Mother Mary home from the foot of the cross, there was no room for Holy Mother Mary, the Mediatrix of All Graces.
The president commended all who supported the project, among whom were the wife of the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano for her donation for the initial take-off of the project; Bro & Lady Innocent Okoh; Arc. Emeka Abia and Arc. Ikechukwu Amaechina, who designed and supervised the project free of charge; Mr. Ikechukwu Okafor, who donated the blocks; Engr. Okwy Alison, who donated trips of sand and stones; the anonymous donor of all the statues, and other donors, for their goodwill.
Mrs. Nnanwude solicited for support from all towards offsetting the outstanding debts of over N4M that emanated from the project. This was even as she appealed for continuous supports for the growth of the parish C.W.O that had among other achievements, supported the ongoing church building project.
Speaking on the occasion, Bishop Okoye, who had the assistant chancellor of the diocese, Rev. Fr. Anthony Ezeokeke in his entourage, extolled the parish priest and the parishioners for the perfect-finish gave to the grotto and other projects of the parish, saying that their supports to the Church depicted exemplary show of faith. He described the Marian Grotto as the best in Awka Catholic Diocese, and called for the same model at the diocesan Peter University.
Bishop Okoye, who took the congregation through the life story of a man, who abandoned his family, and wasted his wealth in wayward lives, but was later converted and became an apostle to his old clique, due to the constant prayers of his wife through the intercession of Blessed Virgin Mary, noted that BVM was a powerful intercessor.
The bishop, who extolled the parish priest, Fr Peter Chikelue, for his hard work and dedication to duty, expressed his delight over the presence of the beautiful Marian Grotto which he said would strengthen the spiritual growth of the parish. This was even as he sought the lasting intercession of BVM in the lives of all the parishioners and supporters of the parish.
In his remarks, the parish priest of St John's Parish, Umuokpu, Rev. Fr. Peter Chikelue, thanked God for his love which has kept the parish going. He commended the parishioners, especially Sir Innocent Okoh, KSM, who he described as the live wire of the parish, and his predecessors, especially Rev. Fr. Peter Val Uzoezie, for their consistent goodwill.
Highlights of the event which had Mr. & Mrs. Anayo Nnanwude as the chairman of the occasion, were conferment of awards on some individuals in recognition of their contributions to the development of the parish by the parish Catholic Women's Organisation (C.W.O), donations in support of the parish projects and cutting of the event cake.