It was with pomp and pageantry that the Catholic faithful drawn from Mbano, Obowo, Ihitte and Ehime celebrated the centenary anniversary of St. Columba Parish Nsu. The ceremony began with a Pontifical Mass celebrated by Bishop Solomon Amatu on Saturday 14th April 2018.
The Local Ordinary of Okigwe Diocese concelebrated with over 300 priests including Msgr. Jerry Ofoegbu, Very Rev. Fr. Cajethan Ehiem, Vicar General 1, Rev. Dr. B.A.A Osuji, Fr. Dr. S. Okeke, Fr. Oliver Amaechi, Fr. Emma Osuji, Rev. Fr. Kelechi Uzuegbu, Fr. Maurice Jiwike, Fr. Barr. Anthony Chidi Onyenagada among others.
In his homily, Fr. Maurice Jiwike, parish priest of Our Lady of Fatimah Umuakagu expressed profound appreciation to the bishop, the clergy, the religious, and the laity who converged for the epoch making centenary celebration. According to him, 100 years in the life of the church and Christians alike is no mean achievement.
Fr. Jiwuke posited that Catholic church came to Agbaghara Nsu out of protest by natives who were worried that the neighbouring Ezeoke community has brought the Anglican Communion in 1914.
The early converts went to Emekuku and ensued the Catholic Church was brought to them with Rev. Fr. Francis Howell (CSSp) an Irish priest was made the first parish priest.
He gave thanks to God that the light of faith was ignited at Agbaghara Nsu. He extolled the parishioners, the laity and the clergy for the tremendous growth of the church which has now given birth to 12 other parishes.
The parishes comprise, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Obowo created in 1948, St. Paul’s Parish Osu inaugurated in 1952, Immaculate Conception Parish Ehime created in 1953, St. Patrick’s Parish Ugiri 1954, St. Anthony’s Parish Uboma 1959, Mater Dolorosa Ihitte 1961, Holy Trinity Parish Dioka Nzerem Ikpem carved out in 1976, St. Charles Parish Umunumo 1977, St. Ignatius Parish Ibeafor Umunumo 1982, Our Lady of Fatima Umuakagu Nsu 1989, Holy Ghost Parish Umuanunu Umunohu 1995 and St. Lawrence Umuduru Umuopara created in 2012.
The homilist eulogized Msgr. Jerry Ofoegbu for his giant strides at the parish.
In his brief remarks, Bishop Amatu decried the poor and deplorable access routs to the parish he described as prospectful for a Diocese. Bishop Amatu harped on the exigency of having alternative access routes to the parish.
The week-long event had other activities including, cultural dance competition, football, centenary tree plant exercise which saw Sir Eddy Amaefule plant a tree on behalf of St. Charles Parish Umunumo. A chapel was built by Blessing Onyekachi and family. They extolled the dogged passion of Msgr. Ofoegbu in propagating Catholic faith at the parish.
Personalities present at the event included: Prof. M.J.C. Echeruo, former VC Imo State University, Chief Sir Eddy Amaefule, Barr. Mrs. Chisara Okoro Egwimchim, High Chief Richard Egbule, Hon Justice L.C. Azuama, Chief Mike Asawalam, Sir C.E. Nwoke, Eze Emma Ibechi, Hon Patrick Osuji Ogoke, Sir J.C. Ukanyirioha, Sir B.O. Okechukwu, Chief Law Onwu etc.