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July 18, 2018

Msgr. John Opara marks 50 years in priesthood – As Archbishop Obinna admonishes Christians to be vigilant

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The Jubilarian, Msgr. Opara flanked the Archbishop of Owerri, His Grace Anthony Obinna and other priests at the event.

The Jubilarian, Msgr. Opara flanked the Archbishop of Owerri, His Grace Anthony Obinna and other priests at the event.

All roads led to Mount Carmel Catholic Parish Emekuku in Owerri North LGA, as parishioners, friends and well wishers rolled out drums to celebrate the priestly golden jubilee  of  Rev. Msgr. John Opara on November  13, 2013.

The ceremony commenced with a thanksgiving Mass presided over by the Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev.  Anthony Obinna, assisted by the Vicar-General, Very Rev. Fr. Patrick Ibole, Msgr. Kevin Akagha, with over 20 priests.

Delivering the homily, Archbishop Obinna enjoined Christians to be vigilant at all times as no one is cock sure when his soul will be needed by his Creator.  He reminisced that there were six priests in Owerri Diocese when the celebrant was ordained; three are still alive while others had died.

Continuing, he charged Christians to worship God in spirit and in truth, be steadfast in the things of God in order to make heaven.  He recalled that in the hey days of Msgr. Opara, he was a classical centre forward as a footballer and was once a lecturer at Assumpta Spiritual Year Seminary and Chaplain of Holy Rosary Hospital Emekuku.  He extolled the sterling qualities of the celebrant whom he said does not toil with the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) and the pedagogy of the Catholic Church.

The Archbishop further said that the zeal for the Lord have consumed Msgr. John Opara.

In his speech, the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Dr. Alex Okoro thanked God for the life of the celebrant.  He recalled that in June 2013, Msgr. Opara was transferred from Holy Rosary Hospital Emekuku to Enugu where doctors almost lost faith in his recovery.  He thanked the Archbishop and others who came to celebrate with the celebrant and the parish.

The second phase of the celebration was held at the church hall after the Mass with Prof. Gabriel Osuji piloting the affairs that included a reception party and cutting of 50th anniversary cake.

In an address, the Parish Pastoral Council Chairman, Engr. Victor Emeka Nwankwere (KSM), said they were celebrating 50 years of glowing contributions to the Catholic Church by Msgr. John Opara in this Year of Faith”.

Engr. Nwankwere said that Msgr. has lived in Emekuku close to 20 years in the service of the Lord.  Though he hailed from the neighbouring Mbaise Community, he decided to be resident in Emekuku.   He stated that Msgr. Opara is a consummate missionary who focuses only on God while desirous to remain with the people of Emekuku whom he loves.

The Parish Council Chairman poured praises on Archbishop Obinna, the former Parish Priest, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Anthony Eke, the present Parish Priest, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Alex Okoro, the Assistant Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Michael Chiwueze, the Administrator of Holy Rosary Hospital Emekuku, Rev. Fr. Dr. Eunan Asomugha and the entire Emekuku parishioners whom he said gladly looked after Msgr. Opara who has been in residence before and after his retirement from the hospital where he served at various times for about 18 years as a chaplain.

He drew the curtain on his address by presenting a gift to the celebrant on behalf of the Parish Pastoral Council, while the Holy Ghost Parish Oboama, individuals, church sodalities and groups followed suit.

It will be recalled that Msgr. John Opara was born in 1930.  He was admitted into the St. Peter’s Claver Seminary Okpala as one of the pioneer students.  He proceeded to Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu in 1957, where he bagged degrees in Philosophy and Sacred Theology between 1959 and 1962.  He was ordained priest on August 4, 1963 by late Bishop J.B. Whelan at St. Brigid’s Catholic Church Ahiara.

He worked in various parishes in the Old Owerri Diocese before he was posted to Holy Rosary Hospital Emekuku as chaplain.

Very Rev. Msgr. Opara expressed his gratitude to God for his mercies and thanked friends and well-wishers who came to celebrate with him.

 

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