. . . Honours, Former Priests, Gov Obiano, Bro Innocent & Lady Catherine Okoh, over 120 Others
By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
Sunday, August 11, 2019, was a day of appreciation and hearty gratitude, as St John’s Catholic Parish, Umuokpu-Awka, Awka South L.G.A, Anambra State, on the occasion of her Silver Jubilee Anniversary, honoured 124 outstanding individuals with various awards, in appreciation of their contributions to the growth of the parish.
Among the awardees were the over 90 years old Bro Innocent Okoh and his wife, Lady Catherine Okoh (Ezeamalu), who the parish described as a great benefactor, and honoured him alongside his wife with a lifetime benefactor award. Others were the Executive Governor of Anmabra State, His Excellency Dr Willie Obiano; the Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial Zone, Distinguished Senator Uche Ekwunife; the former Senator that represented Anambra Central Zone, Senator Sir Victor Umeh, OFR; the member representing Awka North / South Federal Constituency, Hon Chinedu Onwuaso; his former counterpart, Rt Hon Anayo Nnebe and Chief Cosmas Agbago (Okpokaji Abba), who was the chairman of the occasion.
Others were the priests that had served in the parish, indigenous priests, religious and catechists. Also there was post humous award on 12 late parishioners and 5 late catechists of the parish.
Leading in the concelebrated Silver Jubilee Anniversary Thanksgiving Mass, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Chukwuemeka Ezeokafor, thanked God for the progressive growth of the 25 years old parish.
He noted that the already roofed church building, the beautiful BVM Grotto, as well as the Jubilee Parish Secretariat building and the Jubilee Skill Acquisition Centre, which were blessed on the occasion, among other projects, were indications that the parish is progressing.
In his homily, the bishop reminded the parish that their mates and their younger ones, had almost outgrown her. He charged the parishioners and benefactors, to maximise their efforts for the speedy completion of the church building, before the parish’s 30th Anniversary.
Bishop Ezeokafor commended the parish priest, Rev Fr Peter Chikelue and other priests that have served in the parish for their good works. He extolled Bro Innocent Okoh, KSM, for what he described as his consistent goodwill, urging others to emulate him for the good of the parish.
The Catholic prelate, who further based his reflections on the readings of the Sunday, charged all on lives of strengthened faith in God, just like Abraham and Sarah. Pointing out the need for every person to spend his or her life in alertness for future occurrences, the bishop noted that life of faith was very important both in practical earthly life and the life after.
In his remarks, the parish priest, Rev Fr Peter Chikelue, thanked God for his love and sustenance on St John’s Parish, Umuokpu-Awka that was raised to a parish status on September 17, 1994, by the first Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, the late Archbishop Albert Obiefuna. The parish priest appreciated Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor for what he described as the exceptional love he had for the parish.
Rev Fr Chikelue commended his predecessors for the good legacy they left behind and extolled all who have contributed to the growth of the parish, and stood behind him for the years, he had served as the parish priest.
Donations in support of the parish projects, blessing of projects by Bishop Ezeokafor, among others were highpoints of the well-attended event which had Senator Uche Ekwunife as Mother of the Silver Jubilee and Bro Innocent Okoh (Ulukanachukwu) as the Special Father of the Silver Jubilee.