By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
Contrary to the belief that bishops attend only burial ceremonies of the rich and well placed individuals in society, the Auxiliary Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Jonas Benson Okoye, on Saturday, May 8, 2021, led in the burial Mass for the late Ogbuefi Boniface Onyekachi Egbunonu who was considered to be a poor man an ordinary personality in his community.
According to the parish priest, Rev Fr Hyacinth Nwankwor, the hero’s burial ceremony which was well attended by the bishop, priests from Awka and Ekwulobia Dioceses, leaders of various lay church groups, among others, was to encourage good his works and services to God and humanity.
Rev Fr Nwankwor explained that the deceased was constant in morning Masses, Sunday Masses and other church activities and was committed to his duties as a lector, as well as read regularly in Morning Masses.
The late Mr Egbunonu, who died at the age of 61 on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, was said to be one of the most active and committed parishioners of Ss Peter & Paul Catholic Parish, Umuchu, Aguata LGA, Anambra State. He was until his death, the Coordinator of Catholic Lectors Association of the parish, and was said to have read in the morning Mass of the same day he died.
Leading in the concelebrated burial Mass at Ss Peter & Paul Parish, Umuchu, Most Rev Jonas Benson Okoye described the deceased as someone who, despite his poor background, lived a remarkable life of true witnessing. According to him, the late Egbunonu spent his life in service, evangelism and winning souls for Christ.
The Auxiliary Bishop, who said he was at the burial ceremony to encourage service and dedication, thanked God for the life of committed service which He blessed the deceased with and urged the bereaved family, lectors, Catholic Men’s Organisation, and others the late Egbunonu associated himself, with to sustain the legacy which he left behind.
Emphasizing the importance of service in one’s life, Bishop Okoye advised all against what he described as disservice to the Church and humanity, lest it cost them their salvation. He thanked the parish priest, Rev Fr Hyacinth Nwankwor, for inviting him to the burial of the deceased, and for the witness which he bore to the life of committed service that Mr Boniface Egbunonu lived.
In his homily, the Parish Priest, St Peter’s Nri, Rev Fr Polycarp Chuks Obikwelu, encouraged the living to emulate what he described as the virtues of life of spotless, positive impact, justice and truth, which the deceased lived.
According to Rev Fr Obikwelu, who is a former parish priest of Ss Peter & Paul Parish, Umuchu, the deceased mentored many individuals, as well as proclaimed the word of God properly and lived an exemplary Christian life, both as the Coordinator of the Catholic Lectors and a member of Calvary Drama Group of the parish.
Basing his reflections further on the Book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, he tasked all on life well spent and life that bore true witness to Christ, which, he said, was more important than long life. Pointing out that time once misused would not be regained, the homilist enjoined all to make proper use of their time, do what was expected of them, both as Christians and citizens of the country, and give their best to their vocations in life.
Rev Fr Obikwelu condoled with the family over the demise of the deceased and prayed God to accept the good works and sacrifices of the late Mr Egbunonu and grant him eternal rest.
The deceased, fondly known as Bonnie, was said to be very jovial and had a great sense of humour. A onetime financial secretary of Bazaar Committee, Ss Peter & Paul Parish, Umuchu, the late Mr Boniface Egbunonu was also until his death the assistant secretary of CMO, Umuchu Deanery; financial secretary, St James’ Zone and an executive member of Catholic Lectors Association, Achina Region.
She was survived by the wife, Mrs Appolonia Okwuchukwu Egbunonu; a son, Master Nzubechukwu Egbunonu and a little daughter, Munachimso Egbunonu.