By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
In gratitude to God for the gift of life and rich harvest, St Paul’s Catholic Parish, Umuokpu, Awka, Awka South LGA, last Saturday, October 2, held her 2021 Annual New Yam Festival, otherwise known as Iri Ji.
The 2021 event which was the third edition for the parish, was organized by the parish Catholic Men’s Organisation (CMO).
Speaking on the occasion, the Vice Chairman, Parish Pastoral Council, Mr Moses Onyibor, described the event as a joyous one, which, he said, was in thanksgiving to the God of harvest for the fruitful harvest which he blessed the parish and her parishioners with.
Pointing out that yam was a major crop of the Igbos and other ethnic groups which signified unity, love and progress, Mr Onyibor prayed the celebration would bring about lasting unity and progress in the parish and community.
In his keynote address, the chairman of the occasion, Chief Ignatius Ginikanwa Nwana, CSR rtd, solicited for donations in support of the iri ji ceremony, which, he said, doubled with fund raising for the parish’s overhead tank and ceiling for the church building projects.
For his part, the Chairman, CMO, St John’s Parish, Umuokpu, Awka, Mr Donatus Nwankwo, commended all who graced and supported the event for their goodwill.
Fides gathered that the event which was kicked off with a Holy Mass led by the parish priest, Rev Fr Ferdinand Nwaka, was graced by a good number of individuals from Awka and beyond.
Among those that graced the event were the parish priest of St Dominic’s Parish, Adazi-Enu, Rev Fr Peter Chikelue; the Deputy President General, Umuokpu, Town Union, Chief Wilfred Ozoh, who represented the President General, Chief Alfred Okoh and President, CWO, St John’s Parish, Umuokpu, Awka, Mrs Cecilia Nnawude.
It will be recalled that the Annual New Yam Festival of St John’s Parish, Umuokpu, was initiated in 2018 by the then parish priest, Rev Fr Peter Chikelue.