. . . as St. Patrick's Isuofia Plans to Host Celebration in 2020
By Chioma Ndife
The Umuona Catholic Community in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State on Sunday, November 24, hosted the Catholic faithful of Isuofia Deanery as they joined their counterparts across the world to commemorate the 2019 Christ the King feast.
Overwhelmed with joy, the parishioners of St. Patrick's Parish, Isuofia, Holy Trinity Parish, SS Peter & Paul Parish and St. Theresa's Parish, all in Isuofia Community, together with St. Anthony's Parish, Ikenga and the host parish, St. Maria Gorretti, Umuona, set their towns agog during the public enthronement of Christ as the universal king and their personal Lord. The public enthronement of Christ was unanimously proclaimed by the entire communities of Isuofia, Ikenga and Umuona during the solemnity of the feast of Christ the King.
The annual celebration provided another opportunity for the entire Catholic faithful in Isuofia, Ikenga and Umuona communities who were in processions along the roads of the communities, led by their priests with the Eucharistic Monstrance, to demonstrate the sovereignty of Christ over the earthly kings.
The Isuofia Deanery Eucharistic procession which had over 5000 people in attendance, affected vehicular movement on major roads across Isuofia, Ikenga and Umuona for hours as the people of God professed their faith through songs of praise to God and dances of various styles.
The celebration attracted non-Catholics from the three communities, who alongside the Catholic faithful, adored the Eucharistic Christ.
Fides gathered that the celebration was spectacular in Isuofia Deanery, as deanery headquarters, St. Patrick's Parish, Isuofia, which opted to host the celebration in 2020, brought out three gospel vans that covered the length and breadth of Isuofia Community.
Traditional rulers of the various communities in Isuofia Deanery were not left out as they joined in the procession to declare to all that Christ's kingship was far greater and mightier than theirs.
Leading in the Eucharistic celebration that commenced the Feast of Christ the King, the host Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Anthony Mbonu, explained the significance that underlined the feast of Christ the King, saying that the procession usually embarked upon by Catholic faithful helped to strengthen Christians’ faith, especially the fallen Christians. He noted that through the procession Christians showed great reverence to God by telling the world that Christ remained the universal Lord above all on earth, under the world and in heaven.
Drawing from the Church history, Fr. Mbonu revealed that the solemnity of the Lord Jesus Christ was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI to mark the official closure of the Catholic Liturgical year and the beginning of Advent.
He beckoned on Christians to exemplify Christ's presence in their places of work, family life and other activities which they embarked on, noting that it would enable people to see Christ through them.
Frowning at the appointment of people to be crowned kings due to their financial capacity, Fr Mbonu said that such should not form the sole criterion, noting that deeds and personal conduct should also be considered.
He charged the earthly leaders to learn the principles of leadership from Christ and said that when they led in accordance with God's directives, the led would fulfill their potentials and contribute qualitatively to accomplishing God's command for man to change the face of the earth.
The clergy urged the faithful to ask God for the return of peace, progress, development and change of heart from the celebration. He maintained that God inputted something in every created human being and admonished all to make judicious use of their God-given opportunity to do something that would be beneficial to humanity.
Addressing the throng of Catholic faithful in Isuofia Deanery, the Manager of Holy Child Secondary School, Isuofia, Rev. Fr. Julian Anaeto, stressed the importance of faith in every Christian's life and maintained that people who had demonstrated great faith in God tended to receive God's mercy more than others without much faith in God. He revealed that the presence of Christ in the Eucharist made Catholics to be different from others and tasked the Catholic faithful on the effective use of the Eucharist.
He described visitation, reception of Holy Communion and adherence to traditional Catholic prayers as greatly important in the lives of Catholics.
He noted that constant visitation of the Blessed Sacrament brought solution to man's numerous problems and advised people to always present their problems to God, who, he said, had the ability of providing solutions to them.
Speaking at the event, the Traditional Ruler of Umuona Community, HRH Humphrey O. Ejesieme, acknowledged Christ as the Universal King and said that the celebration was for people to bear witness publicly about the kingship of Christ. He said that the celebration would enable people learn how to be closer to God and commended the organizers of the feast.
Also speaking, the Member Representing Aguata 11 Constituency in Anambra House of Assembly, Hon. Okechukwu Okoye, disclosed the need for people to be consistent in their faith and good words, saying that it was only good work that could led one to Heaven. He maintained that the day's gathering was to bear witness to the kingship of Christ and receive his blessings. He called on all to accord great reverence to God as he remains the author and finisher of everyone's life.
Hon. Okoye who sponsored the food used for the celebration, appreciated priests of the deanery and encouraged them to fan the embers of love and fraternal collaboration within their respective parishes. He explained that celebrations would help to enthrone peace in the communities ad challenged the faithful to seek unity and love, above all.
Speaking to Fides, the Traditional Ruler of Isuofia Community, Igwe Col. Christopher A. O Muoghalu, revealed that the coming together of Catholic Faithful in Isuofia Deanery had brought goodies to people in the area and expressed optimism that the joint Christ the King feast celebration would continue to bring peace and progress in the area.
The Traditional Ruler of Ikenga Community, Igwe Alfred Ezeobi Onwunaeme, expressed happiness over the joint Christ the King celebration which was rotational and noted that it would create a platform for people to connect with others in different parishes within the deanery.
In his remarks, the Dean of Isuofia Deanery, Rev. Fr. Mac Simon Nwankwo, thanked all that made it to the celebration and for bringing out time to honour God. He said such attitude was required for one to receive blessings from God, pointing out that the Christ the King celebrated at the deanery level underlined the fraternity and collaboration that existed between the different priests in the deanery, urging that such should exist among the parishioners.
Cutting of the feast's cake made available to all parishes in the deanery; including schools, by Ebony Bridals, gun salute, homage paid to the Eucharistic Christ, procession and benediction, were high points of the celebration.