By Chioma Ndife
The Holy Childhood Association of St. Patrick's Parish, Owerre-Ezukala, Orumba South LGA, has been inaugurated by the Auxiliary Bishop of Awka Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye.
Bishop Okoye inaugurated the association on Sunday, March 17, during his Pastoral Visit to the parish which featured confirmation of some deserving faithful, among others.
Inaugurating the members of the HCA, Bishop Okoye beckoned on the children to live out the tenets of the association which they had accepted to embrace as members. He called on them to live their lives helping other children in need and narrated how members of the association in foreign countries saved their candy money which were used to help Nigerians during the civil war. He charged the children to imitate such and start saving money for their biscuits in order to help other children facing one difficulty or the other.
He maintained that the association as a holy one dedicated to raising children that would impact positively on society and tasked the animators to be careful with their conduct around the children, saying that children learned through observation.
Spelling out the responsibilities that came with becoming a member of the association he urged the children to live up to such responsibility as it attracted divine blessings.
He described the children of HCA as the future of any community and people that would carry on with the faith.
Speaking to Fides, the Parish Priest of St. Patrick's, Owerre-Ezukala, Rev. Fr. Joachim Ezeani, who was visibly happy over the inauguration of HCA members in the parish, expressed the hope that the inauguration would spur members into becoming more active in HCA affairs in the diocese. He thanked the bishop for his visit, saying that the visit would attract unlimited blessings to the parish.
For his part, the Director of Pontifical Mission Societies in Awka Diocese, Rev. Fr. Tobias Osigwe, identified members of the association as special friends of Jesus with the ability of obtaining great favours from God through the power of their innocence which, he said, came out in their prayers. He said that the association would enable the children learn better ways of praying, pointing out that going for outreaches, missionary activities, influencing other children positively and developing authentic missionary spirit were the benefits which the children stood to gain from the association.
He explained that the children following their inauguration were not just parish children, saying that they had become missionary children whose contributions would be used to provide help to other children suffering in other places. He encouraged children in the parish who had attained the age of 14 and yet to join the association to get enrolled, noting that the association was the umbrella of all children in the world.
He beckoned on parents to support their children with the needed materials such as the uniform, prayer cards, and others, for the children to function effectively in the association, which he said, was the training, religious, and formative group of children.
The highpoint of the inauguration was the presentation of mission rosary, membership cards and purse to the children.