Joy, excitement and spiritual upliftment are words that cannot be enough to describe the feelings of parishioners and non-parishioners alike of St. Peter’s Parish Ejemekwuru following the two day pastoral visit of His Grace, Most Rev. Anthony J. Obinna to the parish on 14th- 15th January, 2017
The Archbishop and parishioners described the visit as significant in the sense that it is the first pastoral visit for the year. To the parishioners it is a sign for the new year, and to the prelate an opportunity to go more closer to God, judging from the name of the community “ Ejemekwuru”.
On arrival to the parish, the Archbishop was led by the parish priest, Rev Fr. Sabinus Ikea on a tour to the five outstations and the parish premises during which the Archbishop inspected on-going projects and commissioned a grotto of Mother of Perpetual Help. The Archbishop conducted a benediction for the parishioners and had an interactive session with them.
Delivering the homily in a pontifical Eucharistic celebration presided to round-off the pastoral visit, Archbishop Obinna thanked God for His gift on the area. An area he said is not only blessed with rich natural resources but also with eminent sons and daughters who are rendering selfless and meritorious services to the Archdiocese and society in general.
The prelate while narrating the tragic beheading of St. John the Baptist as perpetrated by Hearod’s wife through her daughter, noted that there still exist evil messengers who dance to the tune of their evil masters in this our days. He called on all to embrace God’s invitation to drop their sinful lifestyle and lead a holy life.
The Chief shepherd admonished the confirmation candidates not to see the sacrament as an end to acquiring knowledge of God and the church doctrine rather to avail themselves of the weekly know-your-faith classes in their parish and other avenues to improve on their knowledge of God and the church teachings.
Archbishop Obinna was assisted at the Mass by Rev. Frs. Sabinus Ikea, Alphonsus Oha, Emmanuel Ihemedu, Richmond Duru and Geoge Ike.
In his remark shortly before the end of the Mass, Fr Ikea while appreciating the Archbishop for his visit described him as a gift to the Archdiocese. He thanked the parishioners and all who played one role or the other to ensure the success of the pastoral visit.
209 candidates received the sacrament of confirmation after going through some questions posed before them by the archbishop.
After the Mass, celebration shifted to the parish premises where the Archbishop was accorded a warm reception. During the reception, there was a cultural dance display and of gifts by the different outstations, sodalities, individual to the Archbishop.
In their welcome address, as presented by the P.P.C Chairman, Mr. Ikechukwu Anukanti, the parish thanked the Archbishop immensely for his visit and informed him of the progress the parish has made since his last visit in 2007, and the challenges facing the parish
Within the period in view, they said the parishioners have increased both in number and in spiritual development, adding that infrastructurally they were able to build a grotto, a school hall and purchased a new parish car and mowing machine.
They however pleaded for the posting of younger priests to their parish and for the Archbishop’s continued moral and financial support while praying God to keep the Archbishop in perfect condition to continue to shepherd God’s flock.
The Archbishop was accompanied to the visit by the Owerri Archdiocesan Pastoral team led by Mr. P.O.J. Ihemedu KSM, who incidentally is an indegene of Ejemekwuru.