By Amaka Olua
The chief shepherd of Awka Catholic Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, on Sunday, July 21, 2019, made his first pastoral visit to Ss John & Paul Parish, Umubele, Awka, during which he blessed a Grotto of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, built and donated by the Catholic Women's Organisation (C.W.O) of the parish.
Speaking at the visit, during which he administered the Sacrament of Confirmation on 162 deserving catholic faithful of the parish, Bishop Ezeokafor commended the Parish Priest, Msgr Bertrand Muojekwu and the entire parishioners for their efforts in actualizing the projects in the parish, saying that there is a great development in the parish. He urged all not to relent in their good works and donations to the Church.
In his homily of the concelebrated Holy Mass, Bishop Ezeokafor, who based his reflections on the readings of the Sunday, tasked all on spirit of hospitality, which he said was of great importance in human relationship.
According to the bishop, hospitality brings about blessings from God. He noted that it was because Abraham was hospitable to the three visitors, who didn't know were Angels of God, that God blessed him and family with a child.
Drawing further from the gospel on the story of Jesus, Mary and Martha, when Jesus visited the latters' home, the Catholic prelate maintained that hospitality with attention, was of great importance. He observed that both Martha and Mary did the right thing, but Mary, who was with Jesus, and listened to the word of God, gave more with the attention she gave to the Lord. The bishop averred that hospitality without the presence and attention of the person who was visited was not complete.
Bishop Ezeokafor, who also stressed the importance of prayers to Christians, described a Christian that doesn't pray as dumb one. He added that constant life of prayer and good works towards gaining salvation, define the faith of every Christian.
On national issues, the Catholic prelate charged Christians to protect their faith, especially, currently the Christian faith had been under threat. He advised all to be at alert over the RUGA settlement, and warned traditional rulers and president generals against giving out the land of their respective communities to Fulani herdsmen.
Blessing the grotto, the bishop described it as a necessity which would enable the parishioners have closer relationship with Holy Mother Mary, who had been interceding for her children.
In his remarks, the Parish Priest, Muojekwu, thanked God for his favour and care upon them. He appreciated Bishop Ezeokafor for his historic first pastoral visit to their parish. Very Rev Msgr. Muojekwu extolled the numerous supporters of the parish, especially, for their tireless efforts.
The parish vicar, Rev Fr Kingsley Ibeh, thanked the bishop for his fatherly love and commended all the planning committee as well as the entire parishioners for their sacrifices which contributed to the success of the event.