Parishioners of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Orji, in Owerri North L.G.A Imo State, their friends and well-wishers on October 6, 2018 with pomp and pageantry celebrated the Silver Jubilee of the priestly ordination of their priest, Rev Fr Francis Ndubuisi Iwuala. Preaching the homily at the Eucharistic celebration, the very Rev. Prof John Obilor described the Jubilarian as mature, emotionally balanced and physically strong. Fr Obilor said that anniversary celebration is a thing of joy, for it is not an easy task but an opportunity to look back on what it means to be a priest.
He further averred that a priest is called to serve in humility, obedience and holiness in order to be faithful to his promise to God. He frowned at some priests who do their own will forgetting that they are not their own. He disclosed that Christ was not only crucified, but cruci-humiliated, accepting humiliation not minding his God ship. He finally enjoined the Jubilarian to imitate the Priesthood of Christ and always be strong in his faith, so that he would serve as an example to his followers. The homilist explained that God has called and given the priest the greatest opportunity to serve him, and as a lawyer that he should always stand by the truth, apply justice in whatever he does and also stand for Justice for the Church and for the people, and by so doing the sky will surely be his limit.
In his response, Fr, Francis Iwuala expressed gratitude to God, Late Bishop Mark Unegbu, Most Rev Anthony JV Obinna, fellow Priests, his parishioners, his home parish, relations, friends and well-wishers for their love and goodwill.
The last phase of the ceremony was the reception that took place after the Eucharistic celebration. In his opening remark, the chairman of the occasion, Barrister Anaebunwa thanked all who in Solidarity with the Jubilarian graced the occasion including the Parish Priest, Msgr. John Azu, Msgr. Innocent Onyewuenyi, Very Rev. Fr. Moses Dike, Episcopal Vicar, Msgr. Christopher Enem and over 30 other priests. Other dignitaries include magistrates, lawyers and barristers from the Ministry of Justice. HRH Eze Logara was also present at the occasion.
Cultural dance, parade by the MOD, cutting of the Jubilee cake, presentation of gift items and launching of Book titled “Alternative Dispute Resolution in Nigeria” by the Jubilarian, Very Rev. Fr. Francis Iwuala, also featured.
Born into the family of Nnaoma Canice and Nnepuruiche Virginia Iwuala of Ngali Logara Ngor Okpala LGA Imo State, Fr. Iwuala is the fourth child of the eight children of his parents. He began his education at Ansarud-dean Primary School Surulere Lagos and completed it at Community Primary School Logara. He obtained his West African School Certificate at Okpala Seminary in 1985, did his one year Apostolic Work (1985/1986) as a Junior Seminarian at Sacred Heart Parish Nguru under (late) Monsignor Lambert Nwigwe. Fr. Iwuala later proceeded to the Senior Seminary to study philosophy in 1986, at Ikot Ekpene (now St. Joseph Major Seminary and was ordained priest 25 years ago by Bishop Mark Unegbu of blessed memory. He later went for further studies. Fr. Francis is not only a priest but also a legal practitioner.