By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
In what was described as double Solemnity celebration, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Chukwuemeka Ezeokafor, in a well-attended ceremony on Thursday, August 15, 2019, the Solemnity of Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary, dedicated the beautiful finished St Mary’s Catholic Church, Nimo, to be a holy and an ideal place of worship for God.
With the dedication, St Mary’s Catholic Church, Nimo, that according to history, was established as an outstation in 1992, and raised to parish status in 1995, became the second Catholic Church to be dedicated in the one-town Nimo Catholic Deanery. St Mary’s is second after Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church, Nimo that was dedicated in 1992.
The dedication doubled with the Silver Jubilee Celebration of the creation of the Parish.
Leading in the concelebrated solemn dedication Mass, Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor, commended all, who contributed to the building and completion of the Church building, as well as the growth of the Church in the community.
He charged the parish to ensure the interlocking of the entire front view of the church compound is completed, so as to give the church building the expected complete beauty. This was even as he advised against any social activity or action that might any way desecrate the dedicated and holy church building.
In his homily, the bishop thanked God for the completion and subsequent dedication of the Church building.
He enjoined the parishioners to be embodiments of lives of faith and ideal Christian lives expected of them as ideal temples of the Holy Spirit, just like the beautiful church building.
Bishop Ezeokafor, who based his reflections on the Solemnity of Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), in which the solemn dedication providentially fell in, emphasised the important role Holy Mary, the mother of God played in the mystery of salvation of mankind.
He described BVM, as the lowly and humble handmaid of God, whose lasting faith in God and total submission to the will of God, gave way to salvation of mankind. According to him, BVM’s reply to the message gave to her by Angel Gabriel, depicted her faith in God, while Zachariah’s reply indicated that he lacked faith in God.
Addressing the parishioners, the bishop said, ‘St Mary’s Pariah Nimo, will today, be included in the list of dedicated Churches in Awka Diocese, Nigeria and the world. As parishioners, you should shine out in your faith as ideal Christians of repute. Defend your faith with everything possible, especially, as the Christian faith had been under threats in Nigeria’.
In his remarks, the parish priest, St Mary’s Parish, Nimo, Rev Fr Zeph Uche Uzor, thanked the member representing Njikoka II Constituency in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon Sir Pete Chima Ibida (KSJI), who is the Vice Chairman of the parish council and the Chairman of the occasion, Sir John C Odike, KSG, for what he described as their many outstanding supports and encouragements to him and the parish. According to Fr Uzor, Ibida and Odike were instrumental to the possible dedication of the church building on the solemnity of Assumption of BVM.
The parish priest also commended Engr Charles Mberede, for the beautiful Chapel of Perpetual Adoration he built and donated to the parish; Sir Odike, KSG, for the grotto of BVM he donated, as well as Mgbajiaka Family of Nimo, knights and ladies of the Church, Nimo indigenous priests and religious, the entire parishioners and his predecessors for their various supports.
Speaking on the occasion, the Dedication Planning Committee Chairman, Hon Sir Pete Ibida, thanked the bishop for the gift of the priests that have worked and are working in the parish, saying that St Mary’s Parish, Nimo has recorded phenomenal growths due to the outstanding hard work and dedication to duties of the priests.
Ibida, who described the current parish priest, Rev Fr Zeph Uzoh, the Solomon and Joshua of their time, observed that the excellence which Awka Catholic Diocese had been associated with, was due to the quality leadership, administration and shepherding roles of the bishop of the diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor.
In an interview to the press, the committee chairman, who said he was greatly exited, thanked God for the success of the long expected church dedication, and charged the parishioners to ensure they keep the holy church building sacred.
Presentation of gifts to the bishop, various cultural dance performances and merriments in honour of the double event, were highlights of the reception which had Sir John Odike, KSG as the chairman of the occasion. He was represented by his son, Mr Ikenna Odike.