…212 Candidates Confirmed
By Zita Chidera Ezeno
St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, Adazi-Nnukwu, last Sunday, received the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, who administered the Sacrament of Confirmation on 212 candidates.
The Bishop, speaking during the homily, x-rayed the significance of gratitude which was well captured in the Gospel of the day. ‘The biggest form of gratitude is living a holy life,’ he said.
He expressed joy upon visiting the parish again after the last pastoral visit in 2016, even as he explained that such visits created a platform for the Catholic prelate to commune with his flock and vice versa, as well as allowed the administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation on communicants to strengthen them.
‘Gifts are also presented to the Bishop to support the work of the diocese,’ he added, while hinting on the need for collaboration.
Talking about the proper formation of youths which the chief shepherd of Awka Diocese described as vital in any society seeking advancement, he pointed out that the Church was a factory for human capital development proper grooming the youths.
‘We must form their foundation right. That is why the Church is involved in the management of educational institutions at all levels. This does not relinquish the position of the family in placing the first bricks in the life of an individual. Hence, parents should emphasize the proper upbringing of their children,’ Bishop Ezeokafor stated.
He mentioned that the Catholic Diocese of Awka, sponsored some indigent students at Veritas University, Abuja, including one of their parishioners, and plans were made to incorporate scholarship schemes that would cater for bright indigent students at Peter University, Achina-Onneh, jointly owned by the Catholic Dioceses of Awka and Ekwulobia.
Charging the candidates for confirmation to persist in the faith, he admonished the congregation thus: ‘It is the work of the people of God to protect the spiritual and temporal goods of the Church.’
Bishop Ezeokafor ended his homily by sensitizing the congregation on the current political situation in the country, encouraging all to get their Permanent Voters’ Cards, which, he said, made them eligible to vote and to desist from vote buying and selling. He decried what he termed the Igbo marginalization and called for the proper representation of all peoples and increased youth participation in governance and decision-making processes of the country.
At the reception which followed the Mass, the chairman of the occasion, Engr. Sir C.Y. Anetoh, officially welcomed the Bishop to the parish and listed some of the achievements of the parish which happens to be the first parish created in Awka Diocese.
The Parish Pastoral Council Secretary, Mazi Aloy Muoka Mgbajiaka, in his address of welcome, appreciated the Bishop, as well as the efforts of the parish priest, pastoral council and all parishioners, towards what he described as the tremendous transformation of the parish and the diocese, at large. He prayed for God’s blessings upon all.
Some members of the Parish Pastoral Council, together with the parish priest who doubles as the Episcopal Vicar, Adazi Region, Rev. Fr. Anthony Anike, presented gifts to the Bishop on behalf of the parish. Various individuals and groups within the parish proceeded with theirs afterwards.
Bishop Ezeokafor, in his closing remarks, thanked the parishioners for the numerous gifts, noting that the people’s goodwill had helped to sustain the diocese over the years. He extolled what he described as the outstanding nature of the parish and prayed for its continuous growth.
The highlights of the event included the cultural dance colourfully displayed by the Women’s Wing of Udobikeora Age Grade, Adazi-Nnukwu.