By Onyinyechi Ekoyo and Viviain Ononiwu
The Parish Priest, Parish Pastoral Council and the parishioners of St Gregory Catholic Church, Akwaeze, in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, October 15, played host to the Bishop of Awka Catholic Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, who returned to the parish after six years.
In the Eucharistic Celebration which marked the beginning of the event, the prelate, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, blessed the parishioners, especially those who had contributed immensely to the growth and development of the parish, even as he led ninety worshippers to Christ through the Sacrament of Confirmation where the candidates affirmed their readiness to be steadfast in their walk with God, having received the Holy Spirit.
In his homily, the prelate advised the congregation to serve God with all their hearts and get his blessings. In his words, ‘Serve God with all your hearts and get his blessings, but serve Satan and lose all that you have. God has made it very easy by providing us with the Ten Commandments which guide us on what to do.’
He further urged parents to train their children in the way of the Lord, which, he said, would make society a better place. He said the reason the society was not safe for anyone today was due to the fact that parents had left the training of their kids in the hands of house helps and teachers, which, he said, could not give the child all the training they needed to grow.
In an interview with Fides, the Parish Priest, Rev Fr Anthony Onyekwelu, thanked the Bishop for what he described as the love and dedication he had towards his people and for lending a helping hand whenever he was called upon. He prayed for God’s blessings on him.
In the same vein, the Chairman of the occasion, Mr Chigozie Onyeme, and Chief Ifenna Ikegwuonu, who doubled as the Fathers of the Day, expressed gratitude to God for the gift of life and also thanked the Bishop for coming to know how they fared, as well as for administering the Sacrament of Confirmation on their children. They noted that he came at the right time.
Later in an address presented by Nze Henry Uzochukwu, the parish expressed elation towards the Bishop’s visit and thanked God for making their plans for the event successful. Uzochukwu said it was a good time for the Bishop to know how members of the community related with one another and how St Gregory’s Awkaeze, fared. The parish also appreciated the Bishop for the calibre of priests posted to their parish, including Rev Fr Anthony Onyekwelu.
The Bishop for his own part, appreciated the Parish Priest and the entire parishioners of St Gregory’s, Akwaeze for the warm reception and gifts, just as he also recognized some members of the parish who had contributed immensely to the growth and development of the parish and prayed that God would reward them greatly.
Highlights of the Bishop’s second Pastoral Visit to St Gregory’s Catholic Church, Akwaeze, were entertainment carried out by parish band group, cultural dance by members of the Block Rosary Crusade and presentation of gifts to the Bishop.