St Peter’s Catholic Church Urum Joins League of Dedicated Churches at 23 Years

By Amarachukwu Okpunobi

St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Urum, Awka North Local Government Area, Anambra State, on Sunday, 20th August, joined the league of dedicated churches in Awka Diocese at 23 years. It was a triple celebration with the pastoral visit of the Chief Shepherd of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, and the confirmation of about 120 lay faithful on Saturday, 19th August, 2023.

During his homily, Bishop Ezeokafor extolled the newly confirmed and reminded the lay faithful that the Holy Spirit which they had received did not discriminate but rather made the gift of everyman manifest.

He also encouraged them to be people of good character that represented Christ in all ramifications in society.

To the parents and guardians, he advised them to give and help build a strong foundation for the children to grow, especially in the tradition of the family and the Church.

He further lauded the parishioners of the church for their great achievement of joining the league of dedicated churches within 25 years of its establishment. He further reminded them that the edifice that was dedicated was only a representation and that the lay faithful were the Church.

The Catholic prelate thereafter x-rayed a brief History of the parish which dated back to 1950 when the late Fr Lidane was the Parish Priest of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka. This was made possible through the help of Chief Joshua Ozua; Ozekwe Ojani; Nnaemeka Agwuenu; Oranusi Chinwuko; Ernest Oraekie; Adimweruka Atado and Nwankwo Nwokocha.

The young Church continued to blossom where it was domiciled in Igwenagu Primary School, Urum, till the 80’s when plots of land were donated for the building of the permanent site, the current building. This generous donation was made by the Otamaku Kindred of Akitinyi villagers, now Ụmụaku Kindred.

Instrumental to this are: Rev. Fr. Wenceslaus Ofojebe; the late Mr. Simeon Nwankwo, Sir John Chinwuko; Mr Felix Atado and few others who initiated and completed the deal in 1988, while the foundation stone of the church building was laid in 1991 by the late Bishop, Most Rev. Albert K. Obiefuna.

For further expansion of the church and propagation of the Catholic faith, in 1986, plots of land were donated by Umuezegwu Kindred Umuife Urum, near ‘Ori Ogwe’ and a nursery school. Named, ‘Ukoh memorial nursery school Umuife’ was erected in 1987 named after Rev.  Fr. Ignatius Ukoh, the priest who initiated and completed the project. In 2001, with special recommendation of Rev Fr. Christopher Eze, St. Peter’s Outstation Urum was created as a Parish and St John’s Catholic Church, Amanuke, was made an outstation of the Parish.

In 2001, the late Rev.Fr. Charles Obijeme was appointed the pioneer priest and Mr. Felix Atado donated part of his family house as a temporary rectory in Umuife, Urum. With the numerous efforts of the parishioners and good willed individuals, the Church has basked in nothing but tremendous growth in years.

On the other hand, the Chairman of the event, Mr Charles Tabansi, the Vice Chairman, Parish Council, in his remarks, appreciated the Bishop for creating time to be with the parish for the two eventful days. He also thanked all who had in their various ways supported the growth and dedication of the church.

The parishioners who were evidently filled with joy, welcomed Bishop Ezeokafor heartily during their address of welcome read by Mrs. Obidi Sabina, the Secretary Parish Council.

In their address, they beckoned on good willed individuals, as well as the diocese, to help give a facelift in infrastructure and human capacity to Ave Maria Clinic, a hospital in the parish.

In his vote of thanks, the Parish priest expressed his unalloyed gratitude especially to the faithful who significantly bore the burden of the church during the challenges that faced them before the dedication. He called on others to also support the church wherever they can, as work is still on going to put the church in a desired state.

Highpoints of the event were, planting of the dedication tree, conferment of awards to meritorious individuals, presentation of gift items to the Bishop; welcome song; cultural dance and drama by the parishioners.