. . . As Awka Diocese Celebrates Mother of Perpetual Help Cemetery 4th Anniversary
By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
In what will be described as a lifetime honour, a beautiful statue of the donor of the new Mother of Perpetual Help Cemetery, Adazi-Nnukwu, Dr Pamela New, a Neuro-oncologist of USA, was recently unveiled and blessed at the cemetery, Anaocha L.G.A, Anambra State.
Speaking at the 4th Anniversary of the Commissioning of the Catholic Cemetery on December 14, 2018, an Adazi-Nnukwu indigenous female religious, Rev Sr Margaret Mary Ngozi Ibeh, who put up the statue in honor of her benefactor, extolled Dr New for her love, goodwill and supports towards her and the Catholic Diocese of Awka.
Sr. Ibeh, who also appreciated the Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor; the auxiliary bishop, Most Rev Jonas Benson Okoye; her family (Pa Remy Ibeh Family) and the entire Awka Diocesan faithful for their love, support and encouragement, prayed for God's blessings on all.
The beautiful cemetery, modelled after the one in Houston Texas, USA to serve as an ideal resting place for the departed faithful and holy place of prayer, was re-built by Rev Sr. Margaret Mary Ngozi Ibeh of Mystery of Love Congregation, who is based in Temple,Texas USA, through her benefactor, Dr Pamela New and was commissioned by the Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor in December 2014.
Leading in the concelebrated requiem Mass for the dead to mark the 4th anniversary, the Adazi-Nnukwu-born Auxiliary Bishop of Awka Catholic Diocese, Most Rev Jonas Benson Okoye, extolled Sr. Ibeh and Dr New for their unique goodwill which turned the cemetery into a sacred place of prayer and a reference point in Nigeria.
Bishop Okoye said it was something noble, worthwhile and holy to pray for the dead, so as to ensure the salvation of their souls. He commended Sr Ibeh and her benefactor, Dr Pamela New for putting up such beautiful cemetery for the diocese. This was even as he extolled them for the annual December anniversary of the new cemetery, which has created another opportunity to pray for the dead, apart from the Nov 2nd All Souls Day stipulated by the Church.
In his homily, the dean, Awka II Deanery, Catholic Diocese of Awka, Rev. Fr. Peter Elochukwu Eche, stressed the need for constant prayers for the dead, saying that prayers offered for others were more effective than prayers which were offered for oneself.
The Catholic priest, who likened the souls in purgatory to people, who were in police cell awaiting bail and freedom, stressed the urgent need to pray for the dead.
Pointing out that the living were candidates for death, Rev Fr. Eche, who is the parish priest of St Mary's Parish, Awka, noted death was a passage to life. He identified Holy Masses as the first and all-important prayer for both the living and the dead. According to the priest, Holy Mass (Eucharist), which was effective for the cleansing of the dead, alongside holy rosary and penance were necessary for the happy repose of the dead and happy death of the living.