‘We Are Children of One God Father’

…As Holy Childhood Association Celebrates Diocesan Day

By Gloria Ibesi and Ebube Edieh

The members of Holy Childhood Association have been advised against wrongdoings and exhorted to embrace good conduct that will make them prosper.

The admonishion was made by the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor, represented by the Dean of Nimo Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Alfred Anazodo, during his homily in a Holy Mass celebrated on the occasion of the Holy Childhood Association (HCA) Diocesan Day Celebration of the Catholic Diocese of Awka on September 16, 2023.  It was an event which drew together children from different parts of the Diocese in commemoration of the annual celebration.

The Bishop who based his homily on ”Good conduct and Thanksgiving”, urged the children to endeavour to be of good conduct and apply due diligence wherever they found themselves.

‘Good trees bear good tree, whereas bad trees bear bad fruits. Good deeds bring forth good results while bad deeds bring forth bad results. Ask yourself whether you are a good fruit or a bad fruit. I encourage you to embrace good conduct and hard work for they will make you excel in life,’ the prelate said.

Citing the story of the ten lepers in the Gospel of St Luke, Chapter 17, Ezeokafor further encouraged the children to imbibe the culture of thanksgiving, especially to God, their parents and other people who did them good.

The fun filled and uplifting event hosted by Nimo Region at Our Lady of Assumption Parish Nimo, Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State,  featured thanksgiving sessions by all the children in their deanery groups, enlightenment and entertainment programmes,  sports activities such as march past, egg race, relay race, as well as awards presentation to the best participating deaneries.

Speaking with Fides, the Director, Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) Awka Diocese, Rev Fr Tobias Osigwe, stated that HCA was one of the statutory bodies of the Catholic Church, as well as a missionary society under PMS, introduced for all Catholic children.

He emphasized that the society, as well as the day’s programme, had the significant objective of empowering and filling the members of HCA with authentic missionary zeal which, he said, would accompany them as they were growing up and help them to be good representatives of the Church.

Fides gathered that the Pontifical Mission Societies is a missionary association of the Catholic Church comprising the Holy Childhood Association, Young Missionary Movement of Nigeria (YOMM), among others, instituted to instill in young people, missionary spirits and exemplary living so that they may be evangelizers and bearers of the gospel.

Another fascinating part of the event was the address of welcome presented by little Miss Ikpokolo Chidimma of St Vincent’s Parish, Nimo, on behalf of the Association in which the members of HCA expressed their warmest gratitude to the bishop for his fatherly love and support towards them.

The HCA children who wished that provisions be made for the celebration of Children’s Masses in parishes in order for the childrens’ spiritual needs to be met as ‘Children of one God Father’, further mentioned some of the Association’s challenges to include lack of an operating vehicle and office building for the Association, even as they urged groups and individuals to assist them in the actualization of the projects.

In their individual interviews with Fides during the occasion, the Sr Coordinator and Secretary PMS, Awka Diocese, Rev Sr Makuochukwu Okafor, and Miss Assumpta Okoye, appreciated God, the children and everyone who attended the event; further expressing their happiness on how colourful the event turned out, not minding the rainy weather.

At the joyful conclusion of the ceremony, the Dean of Nimo Deanery on behalf of the Bishop acknowledged the organizers of the event, especially those who organized the children for the various activities that took place at the occasion and prayed God to reward and lead all back safely to their destinations.

The PMS Director, Rev Fr Tobias Osigwe, for his own part, praised the animators of HCA of different parishes and deaneries for what he described as their untiring efforts towards the preparation of the children for the occasion. Fr. Osigwe recognized in a special way, an indefatigable sponsor of the Association, Lolo Vivian Nwakamma, the founder of VEN Foundation, who, he said, had always generously donated in both cash and kind to the progress of the Association.

He also appreciated the chairman of the occasion and all who contributed to the success of the event, praying God bless everyone abundantly.