By Uche Enem
A Military Chaplain for 19 years, Rev. Fr. Ignatius Chukwuma Ezeakacha recently marked his 25 years priestly anniversary at St. Gregory Parish, Akwaeze on 30th December 2018. The event which coincided with the Feast of Holy Family was filled with many priests, within and outside the country, friends and well wishers of the celebrants.
Fr. Ezeakacha whom by his title, 'Ezeugbana' is the eight child of Chief Alfred Ezembamalu Ezeakacha and Mrs. Catherine Ukaesie Ezeakacha of Blessed Memory on 9th February, 1963 at Osete village, Umuchu in Aguata LGA of Anambra State. He did his Primary School education at St. Matthew's Primary School now Central School, Umuchu, Ukpor in Nnewi South LGA to begin his Minor Seminary studies. In 1979, he proceeded to All Hallows Seminary, Onitsha to continue his Minor Seminary training which he finished in 1983. After his Post Primary education, he was sent to Awka Diocesan Secretariat for one year apostolic work 1983- 1984.
On the 15th November 1984, he was admitted into the Faculty of Philosophy at Bigard Memorial Seminary (now St. Joseph's) Ikot- Ekpene from 1984-1988. After his philosophical studies, he was sent again to teach at St. Dominic Savio Seminary, Akpy from 1988-1989. In October 1989, he proceeded to Seat of Wisdom Major Seminary Owerri as one of the pioneer theology students 1989- 1993. He was ordained a priest on August 21st 1993 by His Lordship, Most. Rev. Dr. A.K. Obiefuna at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Awka.
At the reception which was chaired by Sir Ikenna Okafor (Ide Akwaeze), who welcomed friends and well wishers of the celebrating priest to the event. He led in the formalities of the event and at the end, thanked those who were present to celebrate Fr. Ezeakacha.
St. Gregory Catholic Community, Akwaeze, in her welcome address, expressed their gratitude to God for the joy and happiness to witness the priestly anniversary of their Parish Priest, Fr. Ezeakacha. The address thanked the parents of the celebrant for their moral support and encouragement to Fr. Ezeakacha. The address, thanked Fr. Ezeakacha who is the Pioneer Parish Priest of St. Gregory Parish, for his broadmindedness and creativity which attracted development of the parish and spiritual upliftment of Catholic Faithful in Akwaeze. The address also read that Fr. Ezeakacha's philosophy and ideology was outstanding because he was able to penetrate and win the hearts of Akwaeze in attracting financial support which led to the development of the parish.
Earlier in the mass, Rev. Fr. Barr. Anthony Ezeoke, spoke on the need for the celebration of the Feast of Holy Family and explained the significance of Jesus' journey from birth to death. He said that is was the responsibility of a father and mother to bring up their children together. Using the Bible story of Samuel and the circumstance that led to his birth, Fr. Ezeoke said that thanksgiving to God was a necessary factor in our lives; adding that it should not be a problem to us because it is an avenue for open doors. Quoting John 3:16, he said that the bedrock of every family is love and prayer. He added that the cross of Jesus should be the paradigm to the way we show love to humanity.
Fr. Ezeoke, explained the gift of the priesthood to the church and to the world. He said that a priest is called to be a servant of God and to sanctify and transform men and women towards the road of salvation.
At the reception, friends like Chief Okey Okpalugoh, Chief Benedict Esimone and some others, eulogized some virtues of Fr. Ezeakacha as a kind, happy and wonderful priests who enjoys the growth and development of the church.
In his vote of thanks, Fr. Ezeakacha thanked God for His love, mercy and protection upon his life. He thanked his priestly fraternity, within and outside the country for their love and support. In a special way, he thanked his parents, family, friends and well wishers for all their support to him. When fides asked about his fulfilling moments in priesthood, Fr. Ezeakacha said that he is happy being a priest. Fr. Ezeakacha said that his priestly journey was challenging at first; adding that the Army experience was very challenging. He also said that furthering his studies in Canada at a old age with no aid or support was very challenging to him.
He advised younger priests to love and respect the vow of obedience and to handover their priestly life to Jesus and Mother Mary through constant devotion and carrying out good deeds to people. He confessed that these were his source of strength and his propeller for these 25 years in his priestly life.