News Update

St Simon’s Parish Ukpo Hosts Bishop Ezeokafor on Dedication Anniversary

…Honours Lady Ndidi Mezue

By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba

Seven years after his last pastoral visit to the parish, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, last Sunday, May 2, 2021, made his pastoral visit to St Simon’s Catholic Parish, Ukpo, Dunukofia LGA, Anambra State, during which he inspected the parish, her members, and structures.

The bishop at the visit which coincided with the Fourth Anniversary of the Solemnity of Dedication of St Simon’s Catholic Church, administered the Sacrament of Confirmation on 232 parishioners of the parish.

The event doubled with the conferment of Humanitarian Service Award on the Anambra State Commissioner for Social Welfare, Women’s and Children’s Affairs, Lady Ndidi Mezue, LSM, by the parish.

According to the parish, the honour on Lady Mezue was in recognition of her contributions to human and Church development at St Simon’s (her home parish) and the many mentally deranged persons she had moved out of the streets and helped to restore their sanity, as well as her commitment to women’s and children’s development.

Speaking on the occasion, Bishop Ezeokafor, who had the chancellor of the Diocese, Rev Fr Francis Chidume, on his entourage, thanked God for the pastoral visit which fell on the 2021 Fathers’ Sunday. He prayed that the visit would promote the growth of the parish and that of the parishioners.

In his homily, the bishop charged all to remain steadfast in faith, follow Christ in love and be true disciples in line with their calling. The Catholic prelate, who based his reflections on the readings of the Sunday, described Jesus Christ as the true vine; and the people of God, the branches. He tasked all on life of faith that manifested in good works, insisting that just as the branches of a tree drew life from the root of the tree, the Christians drew their life from Jesus Christ, the true vine.

Bishop Ezeokafor exhorted the faithful against ways of life, which, he said, contradicted their Christian calling. According to him a Christian, just like the true branch that took its root from Christ, the true vine ought to be good in words and actions, and not to be often associated with evil deeds.

Reacting to the award presented to Lady Ndidi Mezue, Bishop Ezeokafor described it as a call for more responsibility and urged the awardee to justify the confidence which the parish reposed in her with the honour.

In his remarks, the Parish Priest, St Simon’s Parish, Ukpo, Rev Fr Emmanuel Akposionu, thanked God for his sustenance and gift of life on the parish and her members since after the last bishop’s pastoral visit on October 26, 2014.

The parish priest commended the parish vicar, Rev Fr Barr Chukwudi Okeke, and the priest-in-residence, Rev Fr John Uchebo, for their fraternal love and support, which, according to him, had been encouraging. He lauded the pastoral councilors, the pastoral visit Organising Committee led by the Chairman, Mr Chinedu Olibie, and the entire parishioners, for the sacrifices and goodwill which contributed to the success of the event and the growth of the parish.

Saint Simon’s Parish in the address of welcome that was signed by the Parish Priest, Rev Fr Emmanuel Akposionu; the Vice Chairman, Parish Pastoral Council, Prince Johnson Eneh and the Secretary, Parish Pastoral Council, Mrs Kate Umeogu, highlighted the growth of the parish that was created in 1985, and described the fourth anniversary of the church’s dedication as a great event.

Adding his voice, the Chairman, Pastoral Visit Organizing Committee, Mr Chinedu Olibie, thanked the bishop for the visit and commended all who graced and contributed to the success of the event.

Receiving her Humanitarian Service Award, the Anambra State Commissioner for Social Welfare, Women’s and Children’s Affairs, Lady Ndidi Mezue, LSM, thanked the parish for the award and assured that she would justify the honour conferred on her.

Highlights of the event which had Ichie Hon Peter Ozumba as the chairman of the occasion, were presentation of gifts to the bishop, cultural performances by various zones of the parish and special rendition by the Nkwa Group of St Cecilia Choir, St Francis of Assisi Parish, Abagana.

Among others that graced the event were the Anambra State Commissioner for Works, Chief Marcel Ifejiofor; former Anambra State Commissioner for Social Welfare, Women’s and Children’s Affairs, Mrs Victoria Chikwelu; Special Adviser Gov Obiano of Anambra State on Enlightenment, Mrs Ify Obinabo; Transition Committee (TC) Chairman, Dunukofia LGA, Hon Chukwuemeka Patrick Chinweze; TC Chairman, Nnewi South LGA, Hon Engr Chielota Okoye and that of Ekwusigo LGA, Hon Barr Austin Enendu.