Bishop Okoye 5th left and Rev Fr. Augustine Okeke 6th left pose with members of the Parish Pastoral Council, after the blessing of the Fathers’ rectory.
The Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, His Lordship Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, the parishioners of St. Paul's Catholic Church, Umueji Village, Ufuma among others, commended the outstanding achievements of Rev. Fr. Augustine Okeke, the immediate Past Parish of St. Paul's Ufuma.
They made the commendation on Sunday, September 24th, 2017 at the Church premises during the blessing of some Parish projects attracted by the Fr. Okeke and confirmation of some deserving parishioners.
Blessing the new Fathers' Rectory, Nursery and Primary School complex, Bishop Okoye lauded Fr. Okeke for his commitment and dedication which saw the commencement and completion of the projects. He described Fr. Okeke as a holy priest who has shown total commitment to the works of the church without raising his voice on the ill condition of his service.
The catholic prelate marveled at how the priest was able to attract the multi-million Naira projects in a community that greatly opposed him and his administrative acumen. He revealed to the Umueji people that the school project attracted by the priest would help in the educational development of the people especially in providing easy access to the people in Nursery and Primary school section.
He said that Fr. Okeke has been instrumental to the development which native people from various communities had been enjoying citing Umuomaku as an example where the priest masterminded the construction of a primary school block that could house over Six to eight classes.
Earlier in his homily, Bishop Okoye analyzed the need of living a holy life, urging the community members to develop a close relationship with God, as he was the only one to help them attain holiness. He charged them to always seek the mercy of God, noting that God's mercy was greater than that of the human person. He emphasized the need for a sinner to leave his sinful nature, as the human person is at the center of God's creation.
He warned them on the dangers involved in opposing priests appointed them by the bishop, noting that such opposition limits the willingness of the priests towards attracting developmental projects to the host community. He explained that priests are carriers of blessing which they deposit in the community which they are posted to. According to Bishop Okoye, such blessings when deposited can never be taken back on the transfer of the said priest.
He thanked Fr. Okeke for attracting the multi-million naira projects to the community without putting to heart the cold reception received from certain people in the parish. He said that their realization of the priest's worth and their effort to make peace was a welcome development.
The Chairman of the occasion and a parishioner, Anselem Offor gazed in awe the development attracted in the parish by Fr. Okeke, noting that the rejected stone has become the corner stone that brought succour to the people. He revealed that the various opposition which Fr. Okeke faced in the hands of Umueji people in Ufuma included hunger threat, uncooperative attitude in the affairs of the parish and other unspeakable acts to deter his focus. He maintained that in all the opposition, the priest remained focused.
He said that the Umueji people regret their attitude to the people and have requested for his extension in their parish for consolidation of developmental projects.
For her part, the Chairlady of Umueji Progressive Union, Women Wing, Ezinne Esther Nnebe described Fr. Okeke as an angel whose name has been written in marble and can never be forgotten both in Ufuma and in heaven.