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July 20, 2018

St. Aloysius Parish Umukegwu Akokwa dedicated

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History was made on Saturday, May 10, 2014 as St. Aloysius Catholic Parish Umukegwu in Ideato North LGA was dedicated.  The occasion brought joy to the parishioners and praises to God.  The magnificent, expansive and state of-the-art building with its architectural design makes it one of the best both in Orlu diocese and beyond.

There has not been any occasion in Akokwa that has attracted such number of mammoth crowd that congregated for the event.  No wonder bishops, priests, religious, Catholic faithful and non-Catholics, dignitaries, politicians, as well as illustrious sons and daughters of Akokwa both at home and in diaspora, gathered en masse to celebrate the epoch-making event.

St.  Aloysius Catholic Church

St. Aloysius Catholic Church

The occasion started with the Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Most Rev. Dr. Augustine T. Ukwuoma, the Catholic Bishop of Orlu Diocese.

The prelate in his homily explored the biblical foundation of the dedication of a church.  He expressed gratitude to the entire parishioners and faithful for joining hands to build a beautiful and magnificent church for worshipping of God.  He commended the efforts of the past and present Parish Priests whose efforts and commitments contributed to the successful completion of the church building.  These include Rev. Frs. Vincent Asomugha, Oliver Okolie, Gordian Iheabunachi and the present amiable and indefatigable priest, Marius Chizobam Oluigbo (Nwokeobioma) whose hard work is unparallel towards the completion of the church building at record time.  The Bishop enjoined the faithful to dedicate themselves to God in words and deeds.

The homily was followed by the dedication ritual: invocation of the saints, incensing of the altar and the pillars and lighting of the altar and the church, blessing and consecration of the entire church building and grotto as a holy place of worship.  This was greeted with excitement and jubilation by the Parish Priest and the whole parishioners.  The shout of Nwokeobioma! Nwokeobioma!! filled the air in praise of the parish priest for his hard work and for making the completion of the church building a reality.  Later the Certificate of Dedication was duly signed by the Bishop, the Parish Priest and some key members of the Pastoral Council.

In appreciation, Bishop Ukwuoma expressed his elation at the church building which was completed within a short duration.  He explained that the dedication ceremony marks the church to be a holy place of worship and charged the parish priest that he has entrusted him to take good care of the church.  A roll call of honour was made; recognitions and awards were given to some individuals who made invaluable contributions towards the successful completion of the church building and dedication.  These included people who contributed both in cash, kind and land donors.  One of those that were specially commended was Chief Sir Aloysius Azubuike (Akaraugo) the pioneer builder of the church.

On the other hand, the Parish Pastoral Council articulated their heartfelt joy and history of the church in a welcome address signed by the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Marius C. Oluigbo, Barr. B.A. Munonye, Chairman Parish Pastoral Council, Sir H.S.I. Chukwuonye, Secretary Parish Pastoral Council/Secretary Parish Committee, Sir Kevin Alisigwe, Chairman Dedication Committee and builder of chapel.  It was recalled that on Holy Thursday, April 12, 2001 at which Eucharistic event the Bishop of Orlu Diocese at that material time, under his hand, seal and signature, constituted and pronounced St. Aloysius a parish.  It was carved out from the Old St. Barnabas Catholic Parish Akokwa which was the first dedicated church in Orlu Diocese on 11th June 1983.

In a reception that followed, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Arc. Sir Leonard Okwudiri Munonye (Ugodiohamma) thanked the guests and highlighted the background of St. Aloysius Parish as well as the importance of the church dedication.  The Chairman promised to build a befitting chapel for the church.   Speeches, appreciations and refreshments were made.  The high-notch of the event was cutting of cake to mark the church dedication ceremony.  Hon. Chief Emeka Ihedioha, Senator Hope Uzodinma and Senator Ifeanyi Araraume were ably represented.  The event was attended by Most Rev. Dr. Augustine T. Ukwuoma, the Bishop of Orlu diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Gregory O. Ochiagha, Bishop Emeritus of Orlu, scores of Reverend Fathers, Religious, politicians, traditional rulers and other personalities both from Imo State and beyond.

It is noteworthy that Umukegwu, Akokwa played a vantage and prominent role as pathfinder in the advent of Catholicism not only in Orlu diocese but beyond.  It was in that community that the first missionaries settled in 1910, to the enclave now known as Orlu diocese.


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