St Mary’s Neni Welcomes Bishop Ezeokafor

… As Over 84 Faithful Confirmed

By Onyinyechi Ekoyo and Vivian Ononiwu

Five years after his previous Pastoral Visit, the Chief Shepherd of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, His Lordship, Most Rev, Paulinus Ezeokafor, on Sunday 5, November 2023, paid a pastoral visit to St Mary’s Catholic Church, Neni, in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State. It was an event which attracted members and friends of the parish.

In the Eucharistic celebration which marked the beginning of the event, Most Rev Ezeokafor blessed parishioners, especially those who had  contributed immensely to the growth and development of the parish, even as he led eighty four worshipers to Christ through the Sacrament of Confirmation, where the candidates affirmed their readiness to be steadfast in their walk with God,

In his homily, the prelate exhorted the faithful against giving in to the ills of pride, which, he said, had eaten deep into the lives of many, even as he charged them to humble themselves before God, whom, he said, had first demonstrated humility by allowing His only begotten Son to die for their sins. He urged them to serve God with all their hearts, noting that no one had ever regretted serving the Lord.

Bishop Ezeokafor also urged Christians to strengthen their relationship with God through prayers, explaining that the only way to live well and succeed in life was to live a life of prayer and abstain from sin. He encouraged parents not to relent in the proper formation of their children.

Later, in the course of the event, the parish’s Pastoral Council Secretary and Catechist, Mr Innocent Nweke, in an address of welcome presented on behalf of the parish and parishioners, appreciated the Bishop for dedicating his time to visit the parish. He thanked him for the good work he had been doing in the Diocese and for sending priests that had helped in building their faith.

In an interview with Fides, the parish priest who doubles as the Dean of Neni Deanery Rev, Fr Henry Ezeobi, lauded Bishop Ezeokafor for what he described as his care and love toward the people. He expressed joy over the Bishop’s visit, which, he said, would bring joy and blessing to the parish. He also thanked the planning committee for availing themselves to work in the vine yard of the master and prayed God to bless them plentifully

In the same vein, the Chairman of the Occasion, Dr Chuba Tony Anadi, and Hon Charles Chukwuma Ezeani, former member of House of Representatives, Anaocha II Constituency, 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.

The Bishop for his part, appreciated the parish priest and the entire people of St Mary’s Catholic Church, Neni for the warm reception given to him and prayed that God whom they worked for would reward them greatly.

Highlights of the Bishop’s third Pastoral Visit to St Mary’s Catholic Church, Neni, were enrollment of children into the Holy Childhood Association, entertainment carried out by C.W.O. members, welcome song by the choir, cultural dance by the Holy Childhood and presentation of gifts to the Bishop.