By Precious Ukeje and Ifeoma Ogbodo
Amidst euphoria and a swarm of dignitaries, the renovated building of St John the Apostle and Evangelist, Agulu, has been rededicated, Sunday, August 29, 2021.
The Chief Shepherd of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, performed the rededication rites shortly after a homily, while he also blessed some other projects donated by some parishioners including a shrine of the Blessed Iwene Tansi as well as a tree plant.
The rededication suffices that the church remained a place of prayer and nothing more. Any other activities such as pressing phones, reading newspapers and things of their nature, are considered desecrators of the holy sacrament.
It also means that the parish would mark its solemnity yearly on the 29th day of August.
Bishop Ezeokafor in his homily explained it was necessary to rededicate a church when it had undergone major renovations, noting that the first dedication was done twenty-one years ago.
The parish in an address of welcome read to the Bishop and other attendees noted that the church which was created in 1985 by the late Archbishop Albert Obiefuna, had Rev. Fr Prof. Boniface Obiefuna as its first parish preist, who they said laid a good foundation which lingered till date.
They reiterated that the church which had birthed two new parishes: St Mathias Parish, Agulu (2006) and Holy Family Parish, Agulu (2008), was first dedicated on the 30th day of December, 2000 by the late Bishop Simon Akwali Okafor.
They appreciated the bishop for their parish priest, Rev. Fr Emmanuel Ezenwata, who they described as a gift to them and “a noble pastor to the core”, adding that the parish priest gave a selfless service which led to the completion of the church edifice. They also appreciated donors of several materials that aided the completion of the project.
Meanwhile, Rev. Fr Ezenwata earlier before the Mass began, appreciated the bishop for finding time to be in the parish to perform the function, having visited two weeks back for confirmation of 375 candidates who were presented by the parish.
Fides had reported in its last edition that the two events were separated owing to the need to reduce the number of activities to be done in one day, as well as not keep people too long in one time.
Other highpoints of the day’s events were the blessing of the shrine of the Blessed Iwene Tansi, who the bishop noted the church was still working and praying towards his veneration to sainthood. This was donated by Chief Chike Ebede, who said he erected the shrine to provide a place where parishioners could go to pray and have their prayers answered by God.
Chief Ebede before handing the shrine over to the Bishop prayed that God would hearken to every prayers said from the shrine.
There was also the launching of a music sung and produced by Rev. Fr Ezenwata and blessing of a plant tree meant for decorating the church environment.
Dignitaries at the occasion included the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in the Nov. 6 election, Mr Valentine Ozigbo; Honourable Ferdinand Dozie Nwankwo, Member representing Anaocha, Dunukofia and Njikoka federal constituency at the House of representatives; and others.