… Fr Nwosu’s 83rd Birthday, 46th Priestly Anniversary, Also Celebrated
By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
In line with an Igbo adage which says, “celebrate one while one is alive and not on his death”, St Dominic’s Parish, Adazi-Enu, Anaocha LGA, Anambra State, on Easter Sunday, celebrated the birthdays of her parishioners who had attained 80 years of age and above; and on Easter Monday, celebrated her pioneer parish priest, Rev Fr Fidelis Chike Nwosu, on his 83rd Birthday and 46 Years Priestly Anniversary.
The triple event which the parish tagged, “Celebration of Life Alive”, was part of the 2021 Easter Celebration and quadrupled with the 35 Years Anniversary of the creation of St Dominic’s Catholic Parish, Adazi-Enu.
Leading in the concelebrated Holy Mass to mark the parish anniversary and the birthday celebration for the parishioners above 80 years of age, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, in his homily, commended the parish for the event organised to celebrate the aged in their lifetime, describing it as worthwhile.
He expressed his delight over the event for the aged, and urged families, communities and other parishes to celebrate their aged. The celebration, the bishop however advised, must not be an elaborate celebration, but a moderate and well organized event.
The bishop, who based his reflections on the reason for Easter Celebration, maintained that the belief which Christians had in the resurrection of Christ was their faith. According to him, it was a known fact that Christ rose from the dead and brought redemption for his people.
Most Rev Ezeokafor encouraged all to strive for good works so as to work out their subjective redemption which they needed to complement the objective redemption that Christ gained for them in order to gain heavenly inheritance, which he said, was the reason for their creation.
Bishop Ezeokafor thanked God for the unity and fraternity which existed till date between the parish and her pioneer parish priest, Rev Fr Fidelis Nwosu, who served in the parish from 1987 to 1995, and is currently in residence in the parish on his retirement.
According to the Catholic prelate, it was commendable for the parish to have celebrated the priest on his 83rd Birthday and 46th Priestly Anniversary. He identified the priest’s healthy life at 83 years as an indication that God blessed him with graceful aging and good health.
The thanksgiving Mass of April 5, to mark the double celebration for Rev Fr Fidelis Nwosu, who is an Agulu indigenous priest, was led by the Vicar General II of Awka Diocese, Very Rev Fr Chudi-Peter Akaenyi, who represented the Auxiliary Bishop of the diocese, Most Rev Jonas Benson Okoye.
In his homily, an Awka Diocesan priest and lecturer, Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Rev Fr Cosmas Okechukwu Ebebe, described Rev Fr Nwosu as an individual who was born to a family known for its outstanding life of faith.
The homilist, who based his reflections on the readings of the Easter Monday, urged the women to hold on to the mission of spreading the good news of Christ’s resurrection which they were given as the first people that saw Jesus immediately he rose from dead. He wondered why elderly men cooked up the deceptive story that the apostles stole the corpse of Jesus while the soldiers were asleep, saying that such was a wrong impression.
Rev Fr Ebebe, who is also an indigene of Agulu, and a Godson to Fr Nwosu’s elder brother, Mr Paul Nwosu, described Rev Fr Chike Nwosu as a hardworking individual, a friend of all and a worthy mentor, who had been outstanding in his virtues of patience, passion to help the needy and readiness to provide solutions to problems.
Rev Fr Ebebe on behalf of Agulu Priests, Religious, Aspirants and Seminarians Association (APRASA), thanked Adazi-Enu people for accepting to take care of his brother priest, urging them not to relent. He assured them of the prayerful support of the association.
Speaking on the occasion, the retired priest, Rev Fr Fidelis Nwosu, thanked God for the gift of life and survival from the illnesses he had in 2017 and 2020. He commended all who stood by him and supported him for their love. Rev Fr Nwosu, who equally lauded the people of Adazi-Enu for their love, support and car gifts to him, appreciated Rev Fr Peter Okonkwo, who, he said, gave him the necessary formation and support in the seminary which made his priestly ordination possible.
In his remarks, the parish priest, St Dominic’s Parish, Adazi-Enu, Rev Fr Peter Chikelue, explained that the celebrations for the octogenarians were to give precedence to befitting living as against what he described as the so-called befitting funeral, which, he said, many people erroneously showcased. He thanked God for the gift of Fr Nwosu and commended all who supported the celebrations for their goodwill.