The week-long celebration by the Sacred Heart Catholic Parish Oguta to mark the celebration of the Feast of Sacred Heart of Jesus for this year has ended.
The feast which started with a benediction on Sunday May 29, 2016, followed by a three-day retreat and other social activities was rounded off on Sunday, June 5, 2016 with a thanksgiving Mass.
The Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Michael Chiagorom, Zonal-Vicar of Oguta Zone 9 of the Catholic Archiocese of Owerri, who presided concelebrated with many priests, including Rev. Fr. Prof. John Obilor of the Imo State University, Rev. Fr. Dr. Nwachukwu Okwuosa of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, an indigene, Rev. Fr. Raymond Onyekwere, the Episcopal Vicar for Umuagwo and the Assistant Parish Priest and Rev. Fr. Kyrian Agogbuo.
Fr. Oboilor in his homily on “faith” said that Sacred Heart Parish Oguta was one of the best parishes he had ever worked in as a result of the faith the indigenes have exercised at different times while he was still their parish priest. He recalled how a rosary procession from the parish went to the forbidden Ogbuide stream to fetch water. The homilist said their faith reached its peak when HRH Ndanike Fabian Uzokwe gave his life to Christ and received his First Holy Communion right at the Sacred Heart Parish Altar. Ndadike later wrote a letter telling his family that he should be buried the Christian way with a coffin for he is a Christian and most importantly a Catholic and that burying him the Christian way doesn’t change their customs or traditions. Thus he became the first king in his lineage to be buried a Christian and with a casket. The homilist ended by saying that faith has been deeply rooted at Oguta.
Post Humous awards were given to the deserving departed faithfuls of the parish. They were 10 awardees in number including: late Chief Lawrence Nwapa, late Pa Richard Odili, late Chief Innocent Adizua, late Sir Joseph Nwakuche, late Sir Sydney Ebiri Okoroafor, late Ndanike Fabian Uzokwe, Engr. Sir Newton Uzokwe, late Pa Hycient Okam, late Sir Fidelis Anene Opene were all awarded Fathers of Faith while late Mrs. Mary Johnson was awarded Mother of Faith. The pioneer Parish Priest of the Church, Fr. James Millet was also acknowledged.
The Sacred Heart statue their parish “ark of convenant” was presented to the highest bidder to keep in their house for one year. Just as the Biblical Obed Edom (2nd Sam 10-11) kept the ark of convenant for three months and was blessed, the Ndadike family which was the highest bidder will bear witness to the blessing of God in their lives at the end of the one year.
There was also a freewill donation from the different stations, sodalities and groups consisting of food stuffs, clothes and money for the poor.
In the reception that followed the Mass, the guests were entertained with Mary League welcome song, coral rendition, calisthenics by Sacred Heart Primary School pupils and traditional dance by the youths and age grade.
In the address that was presented by the Publicity Sub-Committee Chairman, Comrade Prince Faith U. Iwuorisha who also double as the CMO President said that the origin of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus could be traced to the appearance of our Lord to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675. Jesus had said: “I promise you of the excessive mercy of my heart that my all powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance. They shall not die in my disgrace or without receiving their sacraments. My divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
The essence of the feast was to contribute to the creation, among the faithful, of the powerful devotion to the most powerful Sacred Heart of Jesus. Since 2002 the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has been set aside as a special day of prayer for the sanctification of priests.
According to Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 “…practicing devotion to the sacred heart of Jesus therefore means adoring that heart which on the cross poured out blood and water, an exhaustible source of new life (Benedict XVI Angelus, 5th June 2005).
Among dignitaries introduced by the MC, Sir Anthony Udemba, were: Sir Felix Okafor, the Pastoral Council Chairman, representing the Chairman of the day, Barr. F.U. Unyimadu; Mrs. Obua Weruche (CWO President), Rev. Sr. Evangeline Odili of Missionary Daughters of Divine Presence, Mrs. Emilia Ndadike, Diamond Mother Evelyn Nwokocha, Diamond Mother Lucas Nwapa, HRH Fabian Uzokwe Ogbuefi, Ezinne Lady Franca Okereafor to mention but a few. The immediate past Parish Priest, Fr. Jude E. Ike was also present.