Papal Nuncio tours Obowo
During his recent pastoral tour of Okigwe Diocese, in which 25 deacons were ordained priests, the Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, His Excellency Most Rev Augustine Kasujja, visited the first dedicated church in the Diocese, the Immaculate Heart Parish Alike Obowo, 25th September 2016.
Bishop of the Diocese, Most Rev Solomon Amatu who arrived the parish with the august visitor, his retinue and the host diocesan principal clergy walked into the waiting warm embrace of the Parish Administrator, Very Rev Fr Dr John Iweh and a large jubilant congregation of Christ’s faithful drawn from within and beyond Okigwe Diocese.
Introducing, Bishop Amatu presented the Vatican Ambassador as the representative of the Holy See which shepherds millions of Catholics world-wide. He informed the Vatican envoy that the Obowo Deanery comprises over 17 parishes and has the first dedicated parish in Okigwe Diocese. His Lordship solicited for fervent prayers of the papacy for sustained growth of Catholic faith and its consolidation in the Diocese, given the unrelenting battle waged against it from multiple dimensions by, not only the proliferating “new day” churches, but also other non-Christian faith. He assured the faithful gathered that the occasion would bring a “rain of blessings” to the land.
The envoy presided at a Pontifical Eucharistic Celebration. He was assisted by Rev Fr Dr John Iweh, host Parish Administrator and Dean, Obowo Deanery, the Okigwe Diocesan Chancellor/Secretary Rev Fr Prof Simon Anyanwu, Vicar Gen I Fr Dr Cajetan Ehiem, V-G II Fr Dr Bartholomew Nnaemedo, Rev Fr Cyriacus Uzoma (Dean Isiala Mbano), other Deans, Monsignori and a host of the clergy including Rev Fr Reginald Nnamdi, Frs. Jasper Onugha, Joseph Okafor and many others.
Among the worshippers were no fewer than 20 traditional rulers among them the Royal Father of Umukpa-Alike autonomous community, HRH Eze Goddy Okeke, HRH Eze Dr B.C. Iwu, HRH Patrick Uwalaka, et al. Knights, including the Owerri Metro-Grand Knight of St Mulumba, Prince Eugene Emeakaroha and knights of St John, the religious and teeming faithful from all walks of life.
In his sermon, Archbishop Kasujja enjoined the flock of Christ to love one another, and for those blessed with worldly riches, he charged them to convert such riches to assets for God’s work and assistance to humanity. He blessed the people of God and urged them to aspire not to be like the pharisees.
Mr. Evaristus Okafor presented the official address of welcome of the Obowo people as Hon Ibe Kennedy did same for the civil authority, while HRH B.C. Iwu spoke on behalf of Royal fathers of Obowo clan.
Responding, the Papal Nuncio expressed delight at being in Okigwe Diocese, and Obowo in particular, more so at the palpable presence of great faith in the people of God, as he declared, “I have come, I have seen the centre where love is lived everyday, Christ lives here”. He paid glowing tribute to diligent Nigerians working in the Vatican, adding that the Holy Father is happy with Catholics in Nigeria. He thanked God for what he described as “a bountiful harvest of 25 Priests” the previous day (24th September, 2016) at the Okigwe Cathedral and thanked parents and benefactors of the priests for huge sacrifices. The Papal Nuncio has since departed Okigwe.