Owerri Archdiocese marks 36th anniversary of dedication of Assumpta Cathedral
There was a low-key anniversary celebration at the Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri to mark the 36 years of the dedication of the iconic church edifice, Monday November 13.
Archbishop Anthony J.V. Obinna while introducing the Mass apologized for the choice of lowering the key of fun and merriment that should characterized the event. He however expressed optimism that next year’s celebration would take a better dimension.
Speaking further, the Archbishop who was flanked at the Mass by Rev. Frs: Gerard Onyekwere and Alphonsus Oha, Cathedral Administrator and Archdiocesan Secretary/Chancellor respectively, recalled that it was on the same day in 1980 that the church was dedicated.
In admiration, he commended the efforts of those he said God used in bringing into reality the magnificent church edifice, revealing that it was Bishop Joseph Brendan Whelan, the pioneer Catholic bishop of Owerri who in 1954 laid the foundation of the Cathedral.
He added that Bishop Mark Unegbu who took over as the first indigenous bishop did not just pay his own dues, “He dedicated the Cathedral and accepted it as a gift placed in his hands by God”.
Acknowledging the presence of notable parishioners of Assumpta Cathedral, including Ezinna Paschal Ihemedu, Chairman, Owerri Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, Chief Sylvester Obasi, Chairman, Assumpta Cathedral Parish Pastoral Council, Lady Victoria Nwigwe, members of the Assumpta Cathedral volunteer workers, as well as pupils of Maria Assumpta Cathedral Nursery/Primary School, Archbishop Obinna remembered Christ’s faithful who contributed in various ways in making sure that the Cathedral stood the test of times. “From Umuahia to Orlu, Okigwe to Ahiara, and Aba to Port Harcourt, this should serve as a time to remember everyone and I pray that your good works will never go unrewarded”.
While delivering the homily, the Archbishop who was elated by the exemplary works of the Early Missionaries to Igboland observed that without their resilient efforts the good message they brought may not have yielded fruits. He said that their coming availed us with the opportunity of knowing and learning the performatory sign of the Holy Trinity, stressing that “Each time we make the sign of the Cross; we affirm that God is our Creator, Christ, our Saviour, and the Holy Spirit, our Counselor”.
Reminding the faithful, that the Early Missionaries had contributed their own quota in the spread of the gospel, Archbishop Obinna said the onus lie on every Christian to make sure the good message does not go into extinction. He therefore called on all Christians to join in the crusade of preaching the gospel especially the one preached in deeds and in faith.
Calling to mind the holy nature of a place of worship like Cathedral, the Metropolitan See of Owerri thanked members of the Christian faithful whose duty was to keep the Cathedral premises tidy and urged them to keep their faith aglow.
Turning to the primary school children who were at the Mass in their numbers, Archbishop Obinna described their presence as symbolic saying that Christ who brought salvation to mankind while on the Cross lived here on earth as a kid. He advised the children who were dazzling in their school uniform to always remain obedient to instructions and never depart from the good counsels given to them by those in charge of them.
Shortly after the Mass, about 12 young men from Mgbuishi Ilile, and Umuokanne in Ohaji/Egbema LGA who, on this day last year renounced cultism, kidnapping, robbery and other forms of criminality reaffirmed the commitment and promise they made last year.