By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
Sixteen years after the creation of the parish, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, in a well-attended solemn Mass on Sunday, September 5, dedicated the beautifully finished Ss Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Arah, Nise, Awka South LGA, Anambra State, to be in totality, a holy place of prayer and worship to God.
While recounting the difficulties encountered by the parish at creation, some persons who spoke at the event described the 2021 dedication of the church building on the 16 Years Anniversary of Ss Peter & Paul Parish, Nise, as evidence of God’s greatness and goodness.
In his homily, the dedication prelate, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, described church dedication as a very symbolic event.
Pointing out that with the dedication, the church building became a solemn place of prayer set aside for God’s worship, the bishop enjoined all to keep the edifice holy. He advised against social activities, such as meetings, reading of newspapers and phone calls, as well as anything mundane, in the dedicated church.
The Catholic prelate thanked God for the beautiful church building as well as for the chapel, grotto, hall and other facilities, which, he said, were necessary for every parish community. He prayed that the blessings of the dedicated church building would bring about lasting blessings of God on Nise Town at large. He advised the faithful to make the best use of the place of worship, commune with God as his children, and not to be in a hurry when they were in the presence of God.
Bishop Ezeokafor, who further based his reflections on the readings of the dedication, described man as the greatest of all the handiworks of God. He advised human persons to serve God in truth and in spirit, love him and live to their various responsibilities, both as individuals and as parishioners of the parish, and by so doing, justify the reasons for which they were created.
He commended the priests that served in the parish; from the pioneer parish priest, Rev Fr Richard Ekegbo; the second parish priest, Rev Fr Emeka Anene; the third parish priest Rev Fr Christian Okafor, up to the current parish priest, Rev Fr Bonaventure Nwankiti, as well as the priest in-residence, Rev Fr Jude Ozumba; the entire parishioners and supporters of the parish, for their sacrifices and contributions, which, he said, made the dedication a success.
The bishop enjoined the parishioners to stand out as ideal Christians who would be fit for the beautiful church building. This was even as he tasked the parish on proper maintenance culture so as to retain the beauty of the church building.
Bishop Ezeokafor, at the event, blessed a grotto of Mother of Perpetual Help that was donated to the parish by Mr & Mrs Marcel Obi and the renovated St John the Baptist Chapel of Perpetual Adoration that was donated to the parish by Chief & Lolo Boniface Egbutu, Ogene Nise.
In a vote of thanks, the priest in-residence, Rev Fr Ozumba, on behalf of Fr Nwankiti, thanked all for their presence and support. He prayed that the glory of God in the church building would manifest in the life of all who were part of the historic event.
Highlights of the event which had Chief & Lolo Boniface Egbutu, Ogene Nise, as chairman of the occasion, were presentation of merit awards to fifty six individuals by the parish, presentation of gifts to the parish, donations in support of the parish projects and dance presentations.