The Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Callistus Onaga was full of praises for Attakwu community, Nkanu West LGA, Enugu State for erecting a befitting place of worship. However, the bishop was downcast following the continued discrimination between the so-called Ohu (slave) and Amadi (Diala).
Preaching during the dedication of St. John’s Catholic Church Attakwu, Bishop Onaga said class discriminations like Osu/Diala, Ohu/Amadi etc are part of idol worship and no true Christian should be associated with such idolatrous practice. He added that we are all pilgrims on earth and there is nothing like “son of the soil”. He appealed to traditional rulers in Nkanu land, comprising Enugu South, Nkanu West and Nkanu East local government areas, to discourage Ohu/Amadi discrimination, which rears its ugly head especially during marriage and ezeship.
On traditional music and other cultural practices in Nkanu land, Bishop Onaga said the church encourages inculturation and so accepts those aspects of Igbo culture that are not tied to rituals or against Christianity. He said masquerading is good if rituals and charms are removed, living it purely as means of entertainment. He gave instances of Catholic priests who are good Okanga and Ubo dancers and players.
Bishop Onaga said the church baptizes culture if it is ritualistic, thus removing the rituals, the secrets and mystifying part of it, and makes it open and accessible to all.
On the dedication of the church, he said the consecration will make the building a place of worship of God, a place holy unto him. “It is no longer a place for holding meetings, buying and selling. But a house consecrated unto God.” He narrated how Christ drove out those who were buying and selling in the temple at Jerusalem and rebuked them for turning His father’s house into a house of business.
Earlier, the Vice-Chairman of the PPC Chief Philip Ngene had handed over the keys to the church building to His Lordship who in turn handed it over to the parish priest Rev. Fr. Bartholomew Agu CSSp, to be in charge on his behalf. He said the church was no longer a church in Attakwu but a representative of the universal church, the Catholic Church, which Pope Francis is the head and being looked after by His lordship here in Nigeria. Bishop Onaga advised the parishioners to keep themselves holy as they keep the church holy unto the Lord, adding that the House of God is a place where one runs into for refuge.
“When one enters into the house of God, one feels calm from all earthly worries and tribulations. The parish priest at the end expressed his joy and appreciation to His Lordship for the dedication of the church and the Attakwu community for their wonderful efforts in raising for God a worthy place of worship. He said his joy knew no bounds as his dreams are fulfilled with the dedication.
The Chairman of the Dedication Committee, Professor Godwin Amaechi Nnaji KSM thanked the parish priest and Attakwu Catholic community for their co-operation.
The traditional ruler of Attakwu, Igwe Gregory Ugwu and other traditional rulers in Akegbe Ugwu witnessed the dedication.
Our reporter said over 200 candidates were confirmed during the pastoral visit.