FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2012
Nigerians urged to love one another
HE Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke has urged Nigerians to love one another and continue the works of charity even in the midst of crisis. Archbishop Okeke made the call recently while on a pastoral visit to Holy Trinity Parish, Awada Onitsha. The visit also marked the official dedication of the rectory and installation of the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Stephen Ezenwagu. It was a day of thanksgiving to God and prayers for Nigeria, especially for those who support missionary works with their God-given wealth. In his homily during the Eucharistic celebration in which a total of 1,847 candidates received the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Archbishop thanked the Holy Trinity Awada family for their support as, according to him, the church can only function if the congregation are following and are supportive. He admonished Nigerians to desist from living dubious lives, even as he described dubious people as those who make money but spend the money on frivolities. ”It is not great money that builds the church; it is the faith of the congregation that brings about rapid development. Our Pontiff, Pope Benedict the XIV has declared the period between November 2011 and November 2012 as a year of faith and we shall make maximum impact within the period. “There is this story about the fault finder, the man who knows all, speaks all languages but yet lacks one great language -the language of love. “It is love that has a universal language. Whenever we do the work
From Emeka Attah
of love, the blind sees it, the dumb speaks it and even the cripple appreciates it. Love attracts love and it is responded by love. The language of love is not spoken through the alphabets, numbers or algebra but is spoken though action,’’ the Archbishop said. The Archbishop also showered praises on the Parish Priest of Holy Trinity, Rev. Fr. Stephen Ezenwagu whom he described as a hard working Priest and addressed him as the “son of a lion” coined from the Priest’s surname. The Anambra State Goveror, Mr. Peter Obi in his remarks expressed gratitude to the parishioners in Awada and marveled at the developmental pace of the parish within a short time. Represented by his Special Assistant on Religious Affairs, BrigadierGeneral Anthony Okafor (rtd), the governor promised to give his support to the parish in their future projects and also regretted that most roads in Awada area are in a terrible state. His promise that the roads would be rehabilitated in the 2012 fiscal year generated applause from the congregation. In a chat with Newsextra, the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Ezenwagu described the pastoral visit by the Archbishop as an elevation and source of blessing to the parish. Reflecting on the achievements recorded in the new parish within 18 months he said: “I feel highly honoured that the Chief Shepherd visited our parish for the first time. This signifies an official announcement that our parish is now one of the parishes in the Archdiocese and that by His grace; I’m also the representative of the archbishop in the
It is not great money that builds the church; it is the faith of the congregation that brings about rapid development… It is love that has a universal language. Whenever we do the work of love, the blind sees it, the dumb speaks it and even the cripple appreciates it. Love attracts love and it is responded by love. The language of love is not spoken through the alphabets, numbers or algebra but is spoken though action
•The new Parish Rectory inaugurated by the Archbishop
•Archbishop Okeke blessing Rev. Fr. Stephen Ezenwagu after his installation as Parish Priest
parish as the chief servant of the parish. Recounting the daunting challenges he experienced when he was posted to Awada as the pioneer Parish Priest, he attributed the success stories of the parish to God and the support of the congregation. “The secret of our success is God Himself because it is in Him we live and have our being and cut off from Him we can do nothing. We thank him not only because we have achieved in the area of building mansions but that today, we are also celebrating seven Masses on Sundays and three on weekdays. We have also won souls for Christ. We’ve celebrated about 250 marriages, 2, 750 baptisms, 2, 150 have also received First Holy Communion while several soul winning programmes are organised weekly in the parish.” While the Parish Priest is reveling in the joy of the pastoral visit, perhaps, the happiest person in the church that day was Chief Fidelis Umeh, the chairman of the pastoral visit committee. Full of excitement, Umeh said he was taken unawareness on the task but he braced up and eventually
succeeded. “The Parish Priest just called me and said he was inspired to ask me to chair the committee. I entertained fears at the beginning but on a second thought, I reasoned that this is a call to duty that I have to serve my God the way it pleases Him. So, for the past two months, we worked tirelessly to ensure a successful outing and today it has become a reality,” he said. He thanked all who contributed to the success of the pastoral task, even as he said that the future holds better promises and prospects for the parish and the parishioners. In his vote of thanks, the ViceChairman Parish Pastoral Council, Chief Francis Umeh thanked the archbishop for his fatherly disposi-
tion to the congregation and prophesied that in the next two years, the parish will sire other parishes as the church keeps expanding. He boasted that Holy Trinity Parish will be the first among its contemporaries. Chairman, Works Committee, Bonaventure Chinedu Muoka thanked God who, according to him, made it happen at His own time. He also attributed the success of his committee to God and the dedication and transparency of the Parish Priest. Various dance groups, performances by members of Altar Knights and presentation of gifts by wards and societies in the church added colour to the ceremony.
Quarters for foreign poly students •Continued from page 27
monitor exam conduct”. Onu also recalled that a philanthropist, Sir Emeka Offor had donated N10m to the institution and that is what the polytechnic had deployed to renovate the old Dr Alex Ekwueme library while a new virtual library worth N160millon is under construction at the extension site of the institution. He told them that another philanthropist, Sir J.J. Ezeokafor had donated motorbikes for security monitoring and Sir Jonah Eze donated a secondary school in the tune of N20million to the polytechnic. “No fewer than 11 structures are at various levels of completion in the Institution. Beautification, landscaping, renovations are still on. These are projects done with internally generated revenue. We also have records of so many pledges. In terms of discipline we have achieved a lot. Oko is also cult free. “Despite all these developments, we still have challenges and that is why we are seeking collaboration from everybody to further develop this institution,” the Rector submitted.
Speaking earlier, the President, USA branch of the association, Baron Egenamba acknowledged the massive developmental strides currently going on in the polytechnic and commended the initiative of Rector. According to him, ”We must commend you. We are a young organization in the United States. It took us time to look for likeminded people to come together. We are presently into legal documentations in the States, this will enable us appeal for assistance and donations that will make it possible for us to start a project in the Institution. “We are also looking forward to our proposed official inauguration in New York, once we get cleared with documentations. We shall invite the Management for the inauguration”, he said. He pledged that the branch association would mobilize support for the development of the institution adding “I have lots of regard for this Institution and anything I can do to contribute to the progress of it, I will do it”. Also speaking, the Secretary of the association, Tony Obi said that their commitment was voluntary and the real thing to do is to be part of the polytechnic community by giving back to the place what they have impacted in the team.
The Nation January 20, 2012