… As winning dancing troupe carts N150,000 prize
It was a thrilling and exciting moment Sunday September 5, as parishioners of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Ihitte Aforukwu Ahiara Diocese glowingly celebrated the feast of their patron saint with pomp and pageantry, quiz and cultural dance fiesta. The entire congregation decked in a spectacular novel uniform dress-code of blue and white radiated splendour, illuminating the scenario with uniformity that shone like a thousand stars.
Rev. Fr. Kyrian Chilaka, Parish Priest, celebrated the Eucharist heralding the annual feast of St. Gregory the Great and souls were won with the church bearing fruit with reception of First Holy Communion by 34 faithful. He was assisted by Rev. Fr. Eric Anya (the Curate).
In his homily with the theme on “It shall be well” (Ogadimma), Fr. Chilaka admonished the congregation to be still and strong because God has promised that it shall be well with them. He prayed God to set the captives free from enslavement.
Aligning himself with the second reading, he observed that it shall be well even in difficult and perilous times.
“God made the deaf and dumb to speak and hear; He will loose you from whatever bondage and enslavement,” and the congregation responded with a thunderous amen.
The homilist went on to bless the crowd, assuring that the captives shall be free and their bondage of poverty, ill-health and sin shall be liberated and made whole. He advised the congregation to put God first, have faith and believe in the efficacy of prayers and live righteously so as to be embellished with the goodness of God that will manifest and it shall be well.
The homilist eulogized the parishioners for celebrating their patron saint in sparkling regalia of customized uniforms. He counseled them to believe in the gospel, believe the prophets and it shall be well with them. He referenced the scriptures quoting Isaiah 35:4, “to those in doubt, the doubting Thomases, be still, be calm, be steadfast and strong, God is coming up to bless the faithful, free the captives, speak for the voiceless; praise the Lord every living thing praise the Lord because God made the lame to walk, the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear, he said. He advised that people should forget the past, renew their hearts as said by St. Paul.
The event took an eventful turn with the tremendous goodwill from parishioners. In appreciation of the unique event, Chief Francis Nzenwata announced a profound goodwill for the mobility of the parish priest for his pastoral activities.
Fr. Chilaka whose birthday anniversary coincided with the day of the celebration took to the floor alongside others, appreciating God for His mercies, kindness and blessings.
Little Master Gregory the Great Chinaemerem Ike, who was born on September 3, 2019, coinciding with the proper date of birth of their patron saint, Gregory the Great, cut the birthday cake of St. Gregory the Great. Two female children, Miss Confidence Nkali and Miss Nnenna Nkali were specially blessed and praised by Fr. Chilaka for their outstanding roles and activities and for being role models that distinguished themselves among the youths from Umuezealum kindred of the community. Indigenous religious from different congregations graced the event in their numbers.
In a stern warning, youths under the auspices of Ihitteaforukwu Youth Congress wrote, cautioning against illicit drug peddling and use in the community. They warned against youth involvement in sales and intake of narcotic substances which pose serious security and health risk and consequent social implication of upsurge in violent crimes and mental health of natives. The youths warned that anyone caught will be made to face the grievous consequences.
The celebration took a dramatic turn with a quiz contest and cultural dance fiesta with eventual winners carting home a giant golden trophy and one hundred and fifty thousand naira as prize money. The curtain was drawn with parishioners enjoying the spectacle of cultural dance renditions amid quality hospitality.