By Uche Enem
A double celebration was recorded at St. Anthony's, Ikenga on 30thSeptember, 2018 for the send off of four past priest who have worked from 2005- 2017 and the Silver Jubilee Celebration of her indigenous Religious Sister, Sr. Josemaria Ogochukwu Okafor (SJS).
The priests were greatly appreciated for their efforts in moving their Parish forward. The priests are Frs. Simon Azuka (2005-2011), Maximus Muojeke (2011-2014), Evaristus Ibenegbu (2011-2016) and Leo Okoye (2014-2017).
Drawing from 1 Corinthians 3:4, the homilist, Rev. Fr. Benjamin Ewelu, told the parishioners that they should avoid segregation in the church and work towards the good for all and the church. He reminded them that the success recorded in the church was a holistic effort made by priests who have worked in the church. He said that the celebrations were opportunities to bring people closer to God and to appreciate the people who have stood thick and thin for the parishes. Fr Ewelu reminded them that since every gain comes with pain, they should not dwell on their pain rather they should rejoice over their achievements. He appreciated all the priests who have worked in the parish and thanked God for sustaining the life of Sr. Okafor whose silver jubilee celebration is worthwhile and fulfilling.
At the reception, the chairman of the occasion, Prince Sunday Dim, kicked off the event and welcomed all present at the event. He thanked God for sustaining the priest and the silver jubilarian for years.
In the address read by the vice chairman of the parish council, Ichie Jerome Onwuchekwe, the Parish welcomed all and thanked Godf or the gift of life of Sr. Okafor. He thanked God for the success the parish had recorded and for blessing them with their current parish priest, Fr. Peter Nwankwo and his assistant, Fr. Angelo Obiakor. In the address, the four past parish priests were appreciated not only by the parish but by other statutory bodies, organization and friends. Also, Sr. Okafor was given a Nexus NX225 fridge by the parish and was appreciated by friends, statutory bodies, organizations and well wishers.
In her vote of thanks, Sr. Okafor, shared her history on how she started her religious life, pointing out her challenges and fulfilling moments into becoming a religious sister. She thanked Fr. Nwankwo for the recent developments in the parish and for his good will. She thanked the Igwe and his cabinet members, the community, statutory bodies and organizations in the church, CWO members of Elele Community, friends and well-wishers.
Also, Fr. Muojeke, who spoke on behalf of other priests, thanked all the statutory bodies and organizations in the parish for their prayers and support. In a special way, he thanked Fr. Nwankwo &Fr. Obiakor for their commitment in the church and prayed for peace in the community.
In his vote of thanks, the Parish priest, thanked all who came for the event. He thanked God for a successful one year tenure in the parish and appreciated the ordination, profession & jubilee committee members for their commitment efforts in reaching the parish's goal. He specially thanked his assistant, Fr. Obiakor, for standing thick and thin for the parish and for the school. He appreciated the traditional ruler and cabinet members for showing solidarity in the parish and in the community. He thanked the parish council, parishioners, priest, friends and well- wishers for their supports and contributions to the growth of the church.
Other highlights of the occasion include: cutting of cake, cultural dance and launching of the book authored by Sr. Okafor.