. . . As Bishop Ezeokafor Lauds Parish over Achievements recorded 5 years after Creation
By Chioma Ndife
History was made at All Saints Catholic Church, Adazi-Ani, Anoacha LGA, Anambra State as it became the first catholic church to be dedicated in Awka Diocese in 2019 following its dedication on Sunday, January 6, 2019 by the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor.
The church building which was dedicated 5 years and some months after its creation as a parish, was made possible through the collective efforts of parishioners, especially Chief Anthony Maduadichie and Sir Cyril Okoye who tasked themselves to ensure that the church building among other parish edifices were completed.
The church building according to the parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Innocent Muomegha was single-handedly built by Chief Anthony Maduadichie who also embarked on the grotto and podium projects while Sir Cyril Okoye carried out the rectory and Chapel projects alongside the interlocking of the entire premises.
It should be recalled that the parish had announced their readiness for the church in 2016 during the maiden Pastoral visit of Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor where he blessed the Father's Rectory, Chapel of Adoration, Grotto of Our Lady of Perpetual help and Church podium.
Bishop Ezeokafor was represented at the visit held on November 13, 2016 by the then Bishop of Ahiara Diocese, Most Rev. Peter Ebelechukwu Okpalaeke.
Fides gathered that the creation of the parish was made possible through the efforts of Rev. Fr. Ignatius Onwuatuegwu, the then Parish Priest of St. Peter's Parish, Adazi-Ani whose tenure witnessed rapid spiritual and infrastructural growth in Adazi-Ani Community. It also learnt that the newly dedicated church started functioning as an outstation in 2008 sequel to the need to revitalize the Catholic Church in Adazi-Ani and secure church properties in all nooks and crannies of the town which Fr. Onwuatuegwu observed to the delight of Umuru Catholic Faithful living around 'Aguafor' in Adazi-Ani who had been attending Sunday masses at nearby churches located at Neni and Oraukwu.
Accepting the keys of the beautifully finished church building from the members of the Parish Pastoral Council, Bishop Ezeokafor thanked the two major parish donors, Chief Maduadichie and Sir Okoye alongside others for their various contributions and efforts which made the church dedication possible. He noted that God's miracle of provision and divine increase was abundant in the lives of the parishioners which resulted in the speedy completion of the beautifully finished church building and other parish edifices five years and some months after the creation of the parish.
The Catholic prelate who marveled at the infrastructural feat attained by the parish, praised God for his provision, noting that God's generosity was evident in the success attained.
He stressed the need of using one's resources to serve God and humanity, identifying such as the basic reason why God brought the resources to the person. He charged them on the benefit of protecting their faith, noting that the level of protection accorded to one's faith was a pointer to how they valued their relationship with God.
In his homily, Bishop Ezeokafor highlighted the dos and don'ts of a dedicated church and charged the parishioners to operate in accordance with the established guidelines guiding a dedicated church in a bid to preserve the sacredness of the church.
He emphasized on the importance of individual commitment in the things of God and beckoned on parishioners who always distanced themselves from church activities to desist from such, saying that such attitudes limit God's blessings on the faithful. He called on people to develop true devotion to God and ensure that God places a mark of identity on them as such identity leads to one's salvation. He said that the contributions of the two donors had shown where their heart was and thanked them for standing up to the responsibilities of the parish.
Speaking after the church dedication, the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Innocent Muomegha appreciated God for the great work which he was able to accomplish in the parish. He thanked the 9-man gang of Umuru Community for donating the land upon which the parish rested on and the two major church donors, saying that their contributions had helped to turn the parish site which was formerly a thick forest to a holy place for God's worship.
Fr. Muomegha noted that the efforts of Sir Cyril Okoye and Chief Anthony Maduadichie was exceptional, noting that the parishioners' togetherness alone wouldn't have recorded the success achieved. He expressed happiness over the completion of the church building and its subsequent dedication, attributing the success to God's divine presence and provision. He pleaded for more land to be made available to the church for hall and school projects, saying that projects had been taken up.
Also speaking, High Chief Anthony Maduadichie appreciated the presence of Bishop Ezeokafor and stated that the completion of the parish structures would promote true devotion to God among the parishioners for all to achieve their desires of making heaven at the last day. He marveled at the opportunity given to him by God to build a befitting place for his worship, saying that not everyone has the grace to carry-out such project.
On his part, the First Vice Chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council, Sir Cyril Okoye while thanking the bishop for his presence emphasized the importance of a hall and school in the parish. He thanked God for giving him the sources which he used to build the father's house and chapel saying it would help to increase the faith of the faithful. He identified that his intention for embarking on the project was to appreciate God for his benefit in his life as everything which he owns comes from God.
The church dedication availed the parish the opportunity to appreciate the two major donors and Fr. Ignatius Onwuatuegwu, the architect of the parish's existence. Funds were also raised for the church hall and school projects which were the parish's greatest need through Chief Maduaichie and Sir Okoye's friends among others who were invited for the church dedication.
Highlights of the celebration were the official hand over of the Church's keys to Bishop Ezeokafor, anointing, incensing, lighting of the altar and walls of the church.
Cultural dances by young Stars Women Dance group, cutting of the dedication cake and presentation of gifts to the bishop added flavour to the day's event.