Auxiliary Catholic bishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Moses Chikwe has advised those fanning the embers of hatred and violence in Imo State and Igbo land as a whole to refrain, stressing that as a people of Christian faith “we’re all part of the sacred body of Christ.”
The message was contained in a homily the bishop delivered last Sunday at St. David’s Catholic Church Ubahaeze Orodo, Mbaitoli LGA, during the official inauguration ceremony of the church; where about 54 candidates received the sacrament of Confirmation.
Bishop Chikwe, who represented Archbishop Anthony J.V. Obinna at the event, anchored his admonition on the day’s feast of the Body & Blood of Christ.
He regretted that in spite of the lengthy years of Christianity in Igbo land, adherents of the religion were yet to grapple with the “simple injunction: Love one another as yourself.”
Speaking directly to Catholics, the auxiliary bishop said: “Majority of us tends to lose sight of the spiritual value of what we receive at Holy Communion. Be reminded that through this sacred act, all of us are unified in the blood of Christ. So let’s give peace a chance. Let’s forgive one another and let’s continue to tolerate each other.”
Reflecting on the Sacrament of Confirmation, Bishop Chikwe, who was flanked at the Mass by Rev. Frs. Philip Opara and Samuel Uzoukwu, parish priest and Archdiocesan Chancellor/Secretary respectively, advised the newly confirmed to give their life completely to the service of God, adding that the spirit of God they received would make them soldiers of Christ.
The bishop had earlier at the Mass presented the Book of Inauguration Decree to the parish priest, following the priest’s installation as pioneer parish priest and inauguration of members of Parish Pastoral Council (PPC).
The inauguration segment featured Archbishop Obinna’s gifts presentation of Ciborium and Chasuble to the parish. Upon receiving the gifts from the auxiliary bishop, the newly installed parish priest and his PPC Chairman, Sir Peter Opara, in a separate reaction, promised to discharge their duties with obedience and faithfulness.
The happy event took another turn with Archbishop’s arrival toward the tail end of the Mass, as his presence elicited happy response from parishioners.
Citing “not too strong” as reason for unable to preside at the Mass, the Owerri Metropolitan, who ensured that he maintained his usual style of honoring parish inauguration ceremony with song composition, led the happy church faithful in the following lyrics: Ubahaeze kele Chineke, Ubahaeze Tobe Jesu, Ubahaeze nara Muonso, Ubahaeze kwusa Ozioma.
The event shifted to the reception ground shortly after Mass with blessing of the Parish rectory.
It should be recalled that St. David’s Ubahaeze, former Station Church under Stella Maris Parish Orodo, on April 13, 2017 was raised to parish status, with Fr. Opara appointed as pioneer parish priest.