By Chinecherem Efobi
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, has charged Young Catholic Students (YCS) to start early to plan their employment, given the disturbing rate of graduate unemployment in Nigeria. The prelate said this at the Awka Diocesan version of the celebration of the founding of YCS in Nigeria, which was held on Friday 2nd August 2019, at Tansi International College Awka.
In his homily during the anniversary Mass, Bishop Ezeokafor pointed out that the Young Catholic Students are always the hope of both the Church and the world. He gave other pieces of advice to the YCSers. “Unless you bend down and listen to your teachers you cannot make it. Allow the institution to pass through you and not only you passing through the institution. Always try those things that people think that are not possible. Trust yourself and you will make it”.
Continuing, the children-inspiring bishop also offered admonitions on other facts of life. “My dear students, going for holiday lessons and others alike, can help you in academics. Not that you won’t be intelligent if you didn’t go for it, but at least there is always a difference as long as you are focused. Many of you who are intelligent can always pass their exams even when they don’t read. But you as a person already know what you are capable of doing; therefore, you must be focused”.
Bishop Ezeokafor noted that it is a thing of joy to find handwork to do during holidays which can always help one to be successful even when one is out of school. “How does it sound in your ear that someone who is a university graduate can always show you his certificate which is genuine, but has achieved nothing as a source of income to his pocket? .Today, we see many graduates doing nothing but they have their certificate. This is because they didn’t start on time to prepare for their future well, and I tell you today that they are the ones they call street boys and girls. So my wonderful students, it is better for you to start now that you are still in secondary school to prepare for a brighter future because when you work towards little things and make things happen, big things will surely come your way”, the prelate said.
Still advising at the Mass, Bishop Ezeokafor said that young Catholic girls must have good character, and not only make themselves look like marine spirits in the name of making themselves look beautiful, whereas after that, they will find out they are all nothing but empty vessels. “Young girls are always prone to dangerous places everywhere in life. An idle man is a devil’s work shop. You know what I mean. Always make better decisions for yourselves especially during long vacations. I didn’t say you won’t have friends who are of the opposite sex, but just be careful about your decisions in life to avoid had I known”.
He concluded by saying that being close to God will always make one to be disciplined. “ Try always to choose the good things that you will never regret in life. I pray that as we celebrate the catholic students at 60 today, that the good lord will continue to empower you in your endeavors and may He always lead you to the good part of life, Amen” the bishop prayed.
Earlier in his address, the Awka Diocesan YCS principal chaplain, Rev. Fr. Jude Chidi Ozumba, noted that this movement as we know has offered millions of students’ opportunities for them to develop positively. The aim of this movement he said is primarily to bring Christ nearer to students, and the students nearer to Christ, with its slogan of See, Judge & and Act. “Ten years ago, our Diocese Awka was opportune to have hosted over a thousand students across the country for the 50th anniversary of YCS in Nigeria. Today we are celebrating another decade added to YCS, may God be praised both now and forever, Amen” Fr Ozumba prayed.
He listed some of the achievements of Awka Diocesan YCS below:
1. Winners of YCS national quiz competition for 2006, 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
2. One time winners of Onitsha ecclesiastical quiz and 2019 winner.
3. Annual organization of diocesan, provincial and national conventions.
4. Participated in the National women empowerment programmes.
5. Best composed YCS Anthem in 2013.
6. Organization of Exposure programmes for our students and many more.
Fr Ozumba equally listed the YCS areas of pressing needs;
1. A bus for attending provincial/national programmes.
2. Sponsors for quiz and sports competitions.
3. Funds for printing of YCS materials.
4. Funds for indigents students.
YCS came into Nigeria in 1959 and Awka Diocese in 1978. That means that as the national celebrated their 60th anniversary, Awka Diocese marked her 41st anniversary. The history of YCS in Nigeria and Awka Diocese will be published in subsequent editions of Fides School Run.
Other highlights of the anniversary celebrations included, dance by the hosting school [Tansi international college Awka], award giving to the merited past leaders which included, His lordship Most Rev Dr. P.C Ezeokafor, Rev. Frs. John Uchebo, Joseph Nwanna, Emmanuel Achuke, Martin Madueke, John Nwankwor, John Paul Chukwuelobe, Pascal Nnajiofor, Augustine Oguine, and Paul Onyebuchi.
Other awardees were, Mr. Vitus Uzoh, Hon. Joseph Igwebuike, Sir Peter Hezekiah Dike, Engr. Chinedu Onyekwelu, Mr. Chinyere Anaemena, Mr. Mike Amalumilo, Chief Titus Onyeonoro, Sir Remeo Anyansi and Mrs. Njideka Imoka. Miss Patricia Ezeneme, Mrs. Josephine Ezeuchegbu, Mrs Scholastica Borlin and Lady Ngozi Ekwunife also received awards.