. . . As Bishop Ezeokafor Lays Foundation Stone of Primary School Block, Blesses Edifices
By Chioma Ndife
Queen of All Hearts Catholic Church, Aguluzigbo, Anaocha LGA, Anambra State, last Sunday, celebrated church elders who had attained the age of 70 and above in the parish for of their outstanding faith.
The celebration accorded to over 200 church elders whose ages ranged from 115 to 70, was held at Queen of All Hearts Parish, Aguluzigbo, to appreciate the Septuagenarians, Octogenarians, Nonagenarians, Centenarians and teach others the need to remain committed in the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Fides gathered that the commitment of the elders led to the propagation of the Catholic faith and increase recorded in the number of faithful since the advent of Catholicism in the community.
The church elders were celebrated during the feast of the patron of Queen of All Parish, Aguluzigbo, which doubled with the pastoral visit of the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, who administered the Sacrament of Confirmation on over 153 deserving Catholic faithful.
Bishop Ezeokafor, at the visit, laid the foundation stone of a primary school block, blessed the statue of Mary, Queen of all Hearts, and Stations of the Cross Monument donated to the parish by the family of Emmanuel Nwokedike and Chief Jerome Ezeobi, respectively.
Speaking to Fides, the Parish Priest of Queen All Hearts, Aguluzigbo, Rev. Fr. Comas Ekwutosi, said the celebration of the elders was in line with the teaching of the diocesan bishop on the importance of celebrating and appreciating the aged while alive. He maintained that the celebration was to appreciate the consistent church elders for their commitment and efforts towards the propagation of Catholicism in the community. He said the celebration would encourage the younger generation as it underscored the need for one to be consistent in the faith of the Church.
He further pointed out that the Church expected other Catholic faithful to emulate the good footsteps which some church elders had followed as it concerned remaining steadfast in the faith and giving glory to God in all situations which life puts before one. He argued that the celebration would help to dismiss the negative belief held by some people that the Church always expected things from the faithful but also showed the Church as being appreciative.
Earlier in his homily during the concelebrated of Holy Mass, Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor stressed the need for Christians to be charitable and beckoned on them to bear in mind that they were approaching the end of the year which signaled the period of Christ's birth. He charged them to prepare themselves for Christ's coming for them to reap the benefits. He emphasized the importance of keeping God's commandment and living an exemplary Christian life, which, he said, underscored the Christ like nature of Christians.
The Catholic prelate expressed happiness to be among the parishioners, and noted that the faith of the faithful could be seen in all structures of the parish. He commended the parish priest and parishioners for adequate maintenance of parish structures and the clean environment existent in the parish.
The Catholic prelate thanked the Parish Pastoral Council for initiating the idea behind celebrating the aged in the parish, saying that caring for the aged was God's mandate and responsibility bestowed on one's offspring. He said the idea would help the younger ones to be more committed in the affairs of the Church, ignite their fire to be steadfast in their faith with the belief that their effort would be celebrated in due course.
Addressing the aged, Bishop Ezeokafor noted that the attainment of seventy years of age called for a great celebration but urged them to reduce the stress which they exposed themselves to on a daily basis and engage in good health habits to prevent some avoidable health issues.
In an opening remark, the chairman of the occasion, Mr. Paulinus C. Obiedelu, appreciated the Bishop for the quality of priests in the parish, which, he said was evident in the achievements recorded in both spiritual and physical affairs of the parish. He stressed the importance of celebrating the parish elders, noting that it would help to elongate their lives and encourage them to keep to the faith till their last day on earth.
Some of the elders, Mr. Peter Nwokedike and Sir Wilfred Iyinagolou, who noted that the gesture would elongate their lives, thanked God for putting the initiative into the mind of the organizers, noting that such had not been held before.