Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese (5th right), poses with some concelebrants and knights of the Church. 4th from left is Rev Fr. Clement Muozoba; Awka Diocesan Chancellor, Fr. Francis Chidiume; the Parish Priest of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Awka Fr. Jude Uba, on Bishop Ezeokafor's left, and Fr. Jude Ezeanokwasa. On his immediate left is the 2nd Vice Chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council and Chairman, Pastoral Visit Organizing Committee, Sir Chris Nwanna
It was a rare show of support to the Awka Diocesan project when parishioners' of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Amikwo, Awka, donated over 25 cows to the bishop of the diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, during the bishop's second pastoral visit to the parish, July 9.
The parishioners who commended the administrative acumen of their Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Jude Uba, appealed to the bishop to allow the priest to complete the church's structure, as his removal would slow the pace of work on the on-going project.
Receiving the gifts, Bishop Ezeokafor who was overwhelmed with the massive show of love, commended the parishioners for identifying with the various projects currently on-going in the diocese, irrespective of the church project.
He emphasized the need of donating to the central body of the diocese, noting that it positively projected the real image of the diocese to the outside world.
He regretted that most parishes who still owed on the proposed Peter University project were more committed to their own individual parish, rather than contributing to the central body of the diocese.
He praised the parish for maintaining the guidelines of the diocese as it concerned the pastoral visit and recalled that his last visit was three years ago.
Earlier in his homily, Bishop Ezeokafor advised people to stop calculating their good deeds to the Church and God but to always bear in mind that they were owned by God.
He noted that suffering did not make one a bad Christian but rather fortified one, noting that suffering should be accepted with joy.
He explained the need for Christians to accept suffering and difficulties as part of heavenly journey, noting that everything in the world would expire while the soul and eternal life lasted forever.
He advised the faithful never to fall for the desires of the flesh but to obey the instruction of their soul.
The Catholic prelate maintained that the parish after six years of creation had achieved tremendous growth and thanked them for the level of conduciveness which they had been able to achieve in the parish, even as he marvelled at the harmony existing in the parish which he, said, accounted for the level of development already achieved.
In his remark, the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Jude Uba, commended the bishop for his fatherly love and care toward the parish. He praised Bishop Ezeokafor for his numerous works in the diocese, especially with the achievement recorded in the proposed Peter University.
He explained the itinerary of the parish, pointing out that the commitment of the parishioners had been instrumental to the achievement recorded in the past six years.
Also speaking, the traditional ruler of Awka Community, Obi Gibson Nwosu, commended the bishop for leading the faithful in Awka Diocese aright. He urged the bishop never to allow the tradition of Awka people undermine the faith of Awka indigenous Catholics as people's rights must be protected.
For his part, the 2nd Vice Chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council and Chairman, Pastoral Visit Organizing Committee, Sir Chris Nwanna, commended the administrative acumen of the parish priest, noting that he was instrumental to the achievements recorded in the parish. He said that Fr. Ubah's humility and faithfulness to duty endeared him to the parishioners.
The people, according to the Sir Nwanna, were always eager to identify with any project named by the priest.
The Vice Chairman of the parish, Mr. Victor Ifeanyi Nwakonobi, for his part noted that the transfer of Fr. Jude Ubah to St. Francis of Assisi was the demonstration of God's love towards the parishioners.
He described Fr. Ubah as a team player who had been able to co-opt others into the parish project, describing Fr. Ubah as one with unique qualities.
Highlights of the event included the confirmation of some deserving faithful by Bishop Ezeokafor, ''Akuko Uwa'', drama performance, dance displays, among others.