The Parish Choir preforming during the Immaculate Conception Feast.
The Catholic Community of Immaculate Conception Parish Amakohia-Uratta, Owerri, Imo State on Sunday, December 7, 2014, gathered to mark their Feast day, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception usually celebrated on 8th December.
Delivering his homily, the Parish Priest, Fr. Hilary Iheonu re-affirmed the purity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, stating that God cannot use what is defiled as vessel for the birth of his Son. Hence Mary is “Immaculate”.
According to him, God wanted to deliver man from the point view of man, that was why his son Jesus Christ was born by Mary, who conceived by the power of the Holy spirit as one without sin.
He regretted that many Christians from other denominations do not see the importance of honouring Mary and acknowledging her purity, especially after the birth of Christ. Fr. Hilary questioned: If Jesus could drive away those buying and selling in the temple built by King Solomon, how much less can he endure impurity in a womb he stayed for nine months?
The homilist described the Virgin Mary as a complete woman full of grace as represented in the Gaberiellic greeting. He noted that the expression, “Full of grace” connotes: full of the Holy Spirit. The priest henceforth enjoined all to honour Mary as it has been written that all generations shall call Her Blessed by the virtue of the grace bestowed on her by God.
During the course of Mass, various citations of the Blessed Virgin Mary were done from the Magnificat and the Immaculate Conception Anthems.
The second phase of the event, which had many priests in attendance commenced with a reception party, which showcased various entertainment activities by parishioners and non-parishioners. They include: Comedy/Drama which portrayed the consequences of employing an un-educated house-help. It was conducted by the Director of Socials and Sports, Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON), Igwe Kingsley Eleonu. There were also songs renditions by the Immaculate Conception Parish Choir, St. Michael’s Catholic Church Choir Amakohia, Donardian Ensemble Choral Group, different soloist song presentations, dance performances by Igba-ndi-eze Cultural Dance Group and by Chronicles crew, calisthenics by kids from Bloc Rosary, recitation of various tributes to the Blessed Virgin Mary by children from Legion of Mary etc.
The evening event came to an end with a closing prayer by Rev. Fr. Kevin Ugoamadi.
Indeed, it exhibited the culture and heritage of Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish Amakohia especially with highlights such as the cutting of the feast cake and the unveiling of the artistic drawing by members of the Chronicles Dance Crew
It would be recalled that at this auspicious day of the feast of Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Mother Mary, the parishioners joyfully recollected that barely eighteen months ago, the Immaculate Conception Station was elevated to a parish status during the 2013 Lenten Season.
Likened to the story of the birth of Our Lady, the parish was the outcome issued out of many years of struggle to possess the piece of land strategically located behind Rapour Hotels. Mention must be made of the crucial role played by the Archbishop A.J.V. Obinna and the former Parish Priest of St. Michael’s Parish Amakohia by way of financial assistance in purchasing the piece of land.
With the divine perpetual help of Our Mother, whose appellation the parish bears, the parish has taken many giant strides that compare favourably with older ones.
With their pioneer Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Hilary Iheonu, the parish has grown from strength to strength in spirituality, as well as infrastructural developments.
The parishioners pleasantly recollected the first major assignment of the newly posted parish priest: the crowd-pulling Holy Ghost retreat of June 2013 that drew worshippers from far and near.
Today, however, on the water-logged terrain that hosted that Holy Ghost encounter now stands a befitting Parish Hall Complex.
Last year, the parish recorded many successes at only few months of age. She actively participated in the Fine Art Competition at the various levels, coming out tops at the Archdiocesan level.
Similarly the ICPA Choir, now known as the Archdiocesan “Golden Choir”, won the coveted singing competition prize sponsored by the Archbishop.
Mention also should be made of the rapid growth of pious societies and sodalities such as the CMO, CWO, CYON, Mary League, Legion of Mary, CCRN and Sacred Heart.
Two highly successful harvest outings have been held so far since 2013.
In all these strides, the parish remains grateful and inspired by the continued intercession of Our Blessed Mother, Mediatrix of all graces who has ensured a united, peaceful and rapidly growing church.
To God who does great things; unsearchable marvelous things without number, be all glory.