The first Grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Mount Carmel Catholic Church Emekuku, in Owerri-North LGA is now open for public devotion.
This followed the blessing of the – N2 million Grotto of Mary the Mother of Perpetual Help on Wednesday July 16, 2015 by Very Rev. Msgr. Kevin Akagha, who represented the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, His Grace Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna.
The occasion which started at 5 pm on the eventful day, attracted many Parishioners including dignitaries such as Sir Ambrose Ejiogu, Chief and Lolo Henry Megwa, whose son, Chiedozie built and donated the Grotto, Dr. (Sir) Vincent Ekwerike and Sir Chris Osuji, the Station Chairman.
The priests who concelebrated with the Monsignor in the Mass that preceded the blessing of the Grotto were: the Parish Priest, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Alex Okoro, his assistant, Rev. Fr. Eustace Nwanekwu and Rev. Fr. Chiwueze Egejuru.
Preaching the homily, the chief celebrant, Msgr. Akagha reminded Christ’s faithful that honouring Mary and seeking her intercession required no emphasis because God himself was the first to honour her through the Angel Gabriel who visited her to announce that she will give birth to Jesus Christ, when he said: “Hail Mary, full of grace…” St. Elizabeth her cousin equally honoured Mary who was bearing Christ in her womb, recognizing her as the First Tabernacle and greeted her”. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of the womb”. What the Church did was to appreciate the need for Mary’s intercession by completing the greetings of Angel Gabriel and Elizabeth with: Holy Mary Mother of God…” to form the Rosary or Chaplet Catholics recite.
He reminded the faithful of the efficacy of Mary’s intercession. She was the one who got her son, Christ, to perform his first miracle ahead of time at the marriage of Cana to save the wedding couple from shame when their wine got finished.
All this underscore the need to trust in Mary’s intercession, remembering too that what Catholics do is to honour and not to worship her, because she herself even said that, “…all generations shall call her blessed”, said the chief celebrant.
Msgr. Akagha thanked the Megwa family for their donation of the Grotto and prayed God to continue to bless them and grant their good heart desires. He then called on Christ’s faitful to invest in the services of God and humanity including health care and scholarships rather than waste their resources on frivolous things like expensive funerals and ostentatious living.
He took the opportunity to commend the Parish Priest, Fr. Okoro for the wonderful work he is doing at Mount Carmel Parish, describing him as ”a man who is not afraid of hard work”.
At the end of the Mass, Fr. Okoro thanked Msgr. Akagha for finding time to come to bless the Grotto and celebrate Mass for the Parish. He also recognized the dignitaries present and thanked the Mount Carmel Young Voices Choir for their excellent performance. Fr. Okoro described the Grotto as the first Grotto of Mother of Perpetual Help in the Archdiocese.
The donor of the Grotto, Mr. Chiedozie Megwa told The Leader that he made three requests to God and promised what he will do in return for his favours. But he decided to start the execution of the Grotto project before his request for a male child was granted. He was delighted to announce that the baby boy has now arrived.
It would be recalled that the Marian Grotto blessed last week is the first of its kind at Mount Carmel Parish since it started 103 years ago.