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St. Anthony’s Church Inyishi fetes Fr. Igbokwe

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…As clerics extol Fr. Onyekwere’s “power-in the word” virtue

Preachers of the gospel have been enjoined to remain resolute and never lose their voice irrespective of prevailing circumstances.

Rev. Fr. Jude Thaddeus Uche, a guest preacher, stated this at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church Inyishi Ikeduru during a send-off Mass in honour of the outgoing Administrator, Fr. John Paul Igbokwe, Sunday July 11, 2021.

He reiterated that whenever a prophet loses his voice, he becomes a puppet, which he said was the situation with prophets in the days of Amos, which made God call Amos, a farmer, to prophesy to his people. He cited the host Rector, Very Rev. Francis Onyekwere as one of such priests with the grace of effective dissemination of the power-in-the-word of God with ease, precision and humour.

He frowned at the suffocating influence of material considerations on divinely inspired prophecy and witnessing these days; pointing out that those entrapped by the cobweb are those disciples who carry with them on their voyage, those paraphernalia which Christ prohibited.

Fr. Uche charged the faithful to imbibe charity as it is indispensable in a successful heavenly project. First and second readings were taken by Mrs. Augustina Ahara and Catechist Ndubuisi Iwuji respectively.

In his valedictory speech, Fr. John Paul Igbokwe thanked Fr. Onyekwere, his mentor whom he saw as “Otimkpu Jesus”. He recalled how Fr. Onyekwere, who was his home parish priest prior to his ordination in 2014, had delivered an inspiring homily when he celebrated his first Holy Mass and how he single handedly bought another car engine to replace his damaged one shortly after his ordination and he did more.

He felicitated with the parishioners and appreciated their assistance, love, care, patience, co-operation and understanding while his stewardship lasted. Hear the cleric: “I hereby forgive all who offended me, and I seek same from all those whom I have offended. I love you all. I will never forget Inyishi Parish.”

Mr. Reginald Enwerem, Parish Pastoral Council Chairman in an address recounted the spiritual and infrastructural feats of Fr. Igbokwe which culminated in the dedication of the parish on the December 30, 2020 and wished him well in his future endeavours.

In his reaction, the incumbent Rector, Fr. Onyekwere appreciated the affection of the parishioners towards his predecessor. He lauded him for the indelible footprints he left behind, especially the parish dedication ceremony.

Consequently, he moved that Fr. Igbokwe John Paul be henceforth remembered as “Ekwueme of St. Anthony’s Inyishi” and parishioners adopted it.

Highlight was the presentation of a token by the Send-off Planning Committee led by Dr. Emeka Ukaegbu and show of appreciation by groups, sodalities, stations, individuals, etc.

Prominent parishioners were present at the occasion. Among them are: Comr. Ebere Sylvanus Nwanguma, Mr. Vitalis Njoku (Parish CMO Chairman), Sir Stanley Anumata (KSJI), Mr. Johnbull Uche, Mr. Callistus Efuleshi, Mr. Anthony Ike, Alfred Nwosu, Lambert Uzoeshi, Cajethan Aguguom (Parish Sec), Luke Esinulo, Isaac Opara, to mention but a few, including the three catechists, Catechizer Agu Samuel, Evaristus Emereonye and Joseph Uzoigwe.

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