… Bishop Ezeokafor Calls for Diaspora Support to Community Parishes
By Daruwana Daku
It was a beehive of activities in Ichida, Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, as the mother parish of the town, St. Theresa’s Parish, hosted the Bishop of Awka Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, on his pastoral visit last Sunday, October 8.
The visit which had in attendance, priests, religious and lay faithful, coincided with the commemoration of the parish’s 45 Year’s Anniversary which began with an Episcopal Mass that was celebrated by Bishop Ezeokafor.
The bishop, in his homily, thanked God for the spiritual and physical growth of the church and parishioners. Bishop Ezeokafor, while delivering his homily, centred it on the Sunday readings from Ps 80:9, 12, 13-4, 15-6, 1920; Isaiah 5:1-47; Philippians 4:6-9 and the Gospel of Matthew 21:33-43. He noted that just as the Vineyard of the Lord is the House of Israel, so also it is to Christian faithful of today.
In emphasizing the need for truth, justice, and fairness in the dealings of Christianity and the world in general, the bishop admonished Christians to shun logic, which, according to him, was only selective and beneficiary to a few and embrace truth even though truth in itself, according to him, did not go well with people most times.
‘There is a big difference between logic and truth. Logic is injustice and selective but truth is for all but does not go well with people,’ he noted. He also added that if one was just and truthful, the vine that represented today’s Christian would be outstanding.
Bishop Ezeokafor who expressed happiness to be in the midst of the parishioners also noted the need to address issues bothering parishes; especially the need for Diaspora support to parish communities. This was even as he charged the parishioners who stayed outside their community parishes to always come and support to build their local parishes, stating that their local parishes were as important as their residential parishes.
In lending his voice to the call of the bishop on Diaspora support of community parishes, the Parish Priest of St. Theresa’s Parish, Rev. Fr. Michael Jude Nwajiobi, thanked the bishop for noting the issues of Diaspora support, noting that it was a major challenge to parishes as they did not see it as part of their responsibilities.
‘I thank the bishop for mentioning such. He went straight to the major problem facing the parish. The abroadians most times don’t come close to us to support the parish. This will help to bolster the parish. The parishes, sometimes, are abandoned by the abroadians who think they are not part of the parish,’ the priest added.
The visit of the bishop also strengthened ninety eight parishioners in the Sacrament of Confirmation and mass wedding of fourteen couples, as well as 40 catechumen who received the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist.
Fides gathered that St. Theresa’s Parish has grown both physically and spiritually. The Calvary and church have been renovated; the parish hall and other mini projects were signs of growth that of parish received over the years.
Also, the Faith Clinic, Catch for Soul Programme and adoration are parts of the activities that have strengthened the spiritual life of the parishioners, inspired by the Parish Priest.
The event featured presentation of awards to both the living and the dead that have and are still supporting the growth of the church.
Some of the awardees included: Ichie Chinyelu Obi of Ichida, Ichie Ezeani Ikukuoma; and the patron of Awka Diocese and Isi-Ochendo of Anaocha, Chief Innocent Chkezie.
The followed by the events were reception and dance presentations.