VOL. 10. NO. 20. JAN.18 - FEB.1, 2009 PUBLICATION ISSN 1116-1663

DIOCESAN NEWS

Ahiara Diocese Glows At 21
Monsignori Theo Nwalo, Don Okoro & Peter Onyeachu Mark 70th Birthday

Rev. Fr. Emma Njoku Appointed Monsignor
Fire Guts Property In Umuevu Okirika Nweke Market

Mater 2002 Old Boys: 4th General Meeting Held
Mbutu Nwe-Nkwo Autonomous Community: 5th “Bia Were Orji” Festival Marked
Harvest of Souls as 14 Couples were Joined in the Sacrament of Matrimony
St. Patrick's Parish Umuevu Awards “Families Of The Year”
Chief & Lolo I. D. Nwoga Marks Onyima Ceremony
Sisters Of The Sacred Heart Of Jesus,Enyiogugu: 1st Profession of 3 Novices Held
4th Edition Of Dr. Ewunonu Public Lecture Held
St. Patrick's 2002 Old Boys Committed To Assist Members


Ahiara Diocese Glows At 21

Celebrations and meriments were on top gear on the 6th of January 2009, at Maria Mater Ecclesiae Catholic Cathedral Ahiara, as she marks her 21st anniversary as a diocese. The Crowd Puling and nerve breaking event which featured series of scenic entertainments, witnessed the rolling out in smiles and great excitement of the bishop, Most Rev. Dr. V.A. Chikwe, priests and religious of Mbaise stock to celebrate a history so awesome and intense; a history indeed packed with events and cheers. At the Solemn Eucharistic cerebrations which heralded the event, His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. V.A. Chikwe with a voice laden with exploding joy, welcomed all to the pleasant occasion, an occasion he said, which recounts the incentive and history of the diocese.

Preaching the homily at the mass of that fun-filled get-together, Rev. Fr. Godson Okoro, the Parish Priest St. Gregory's parish Ihitteafoukwu and the Director, Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), Ahiara Diocese, held that such a gathering was to thank God for the many blessings He has given the Diocese. Going further, he hinted. “We are celebrating the 21st anniversary of the Episcopal ordination of His Lordship Most Rev. Dr. Victor Chikwe and that of Diocese; we are celebrating the immense human and material resources God has blessed us with”. Preaching further, Fr. Okoro held that we are celebrating the achievement of His Lordship within these years. He further called on all to celebrate, encounter and share with one another the goodness of God.

The ceremony later rolled into other exciting activities which included: Entertainments, the famous Aladimma talk-show, cutting of anniversary cake, lucky deep, Abigbo dance and the grand presentation of gifts to the bishop. However, addressing the audience during the reception, bishop Chikwe while inviting all to relax and enjoy the day, thanked the priests and religious for their efforts so far to bring the diocese to the present height. Three toasts were observed, as Msgr. Peter Onyeachu toasted for the universal Church, Rev. Fr. Simon Nwachukwu toasted for the Local Church and Rev. Fr. Humphrey Agbim for the bishop. The celebration rolled to a close around the hours of 4 pm when the final blessing was given by the bishop.

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Monsignori Theo Nwalo, Don Okoro & Peter Onyeachu Mark 70th Birthday

There are images and events that cling eternally to the memory: those spectacular and memorable moments which surrounded the events marking the 70th birthday Celebration of three noble Monsignori in Ahiara Diocese, those stylish cutting of their birthday cakes at their various parishes, these lively Eucharistic celebrations of Sunday December 21st 2008, Monday December 22nd 2008 and January 4th 2009, those lively Eucharistic celebrations also which had as homilists, Msgr. Emma Ogu, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Osuagwu and in what could be described as an epic presence of those old faces of desired Priests from within and outside the province. All these were features of the event which marked the 70th birthday celebrations of the three Monsignor.

Rt. Rev. Monsignor Theo Nwalo, prelate of honour, Vicar-General of Ahiara diocese, Vocation Director and the parish Priest of C.K.C. Parish Okpofe marked his 70th birthday celebrations on the 21st of December 2008, and this event indeed attracted numerous guests from far and within, including Archbishop A.J.V Obinna, the metropolitan of Owerri Archdiocese.

Very Rev. Monsignor Donald Okoro, the Chairman of Ahiara Diocesan senate of priests and the parish priest of St. Patrick's Parish Ekwerazu, Celebrated his 70th birthday on the 22nd of December 2008, while Very Rev. Msgr. Peter Onyeachu, member, Ahiara Diocesan senate of priests, member, Collage of consultors and the Parish Priest, St. Paul's Parish Ogbe Nnesihii, Marked his 70th birthday on the 4th of January 2009 and this attracted glamorous ovations, which witnessed the presence of his Lordship Most Rev. Dr. V.A. Chikwe. It was all indeed fulfilled.

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Rev. Fr. Emma Njoku Appointed Monsignor


Following the appointment of seven priests by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, as papal Chamberlains for the Catholic Diocese of Port-Harcourt, Rev. Fr. Emma Njoku a Priest of Ahiara Diocese, among six others have been confirmed Monsignorii. The news was made public by His Excellency most Rev. Dr. Alexius Makozi, the catholic bishop of Port-Harcourt recently at the diocese. The appointment so to say was sequel to hard work and dedication to duty of the new appointed monsignorii. Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Obinna Njoku was born on the 25th of June 1967 to the family of Mr. and Mrs. M.I. Njoku of Umuoda Nguru in the Aboh Mbaise L.G.A. of Imo State. Ordained a Catholic Priest by His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. V.A.Chikwe on the 17th of July 1993 for the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara Mbaise. Fr. Emma was sent on missionary assignment to Port-Harcourt Diocese in December 1995 and since then has been the parish priest of St. Joseph's Catholic Parish Abonnema, covering the reverine communities of the three local Government Areas of Akuku- toru, Asari- Toru and Degema of Rivers State.

Fr. Emma studied philosophy and theology at seat of wisdom seminary Owerri and St. Joseph's major seminary Ikot- Ekpene respectively. Fr. had his Diploma Certificate in Latin (1984), Bachelor Degrees in Philosophy (1989) and theology (1993), all from Urban University Rome; post Graduate Diploma in Education (2007) from Uniport, and presently, Fr. is a master's Degree student of Philosophy at University of Port-Harcourt.

Since, his ordination, Fr. Emma has served as Parochial Vicar C.K.C. Parish Obohia, Assistant Cathedral Administrator Ahiara Diocese (1994-1995). Fr. is the Dean of Aboada Deanery, Secretary Port -Harcourt Diocesan Committee on projects, member viable and non viable Parish welfare Committee, member, Religious and moral Committee, Akuku Toru L.G.A. Rivers State, Chaplain/moral Instruction, Kalabari Girls High School and the Chaplain, St. Scholastica's Girls High school, Bakana. The investiture of the seven new Monsignorii has been fixed for 21st of February 2009, at Corpus at Sanguis Christ Cathedral Port Harcourt.

By Dan Chidi Ugwu

 

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Fire Guts Property In Umuevu Okirika Nweke Market

In a scene that could be analyzed as phobia causing incident, fire gutted large property in Umuevu Okirika Nweke Market in the Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A, by the dusk of Thursday 8th January 2009. Briefing our newsmen after the mayhem, the repulsive scenario which aroused series of panic and angst around the neighborhood, Claimed numerous chattels of the people. However, our pen pal who visited the vista of the mishap shortly after the fire occurrence gained arrest, disclosed than although no life was lost but goods worth thousands of naira were claimed. Moreover, the cause of the fire incident could not be ascertained as at press time.

 

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Mater 2002 Old Boys: 4th General Meeting Held

Association of Maria Mater Ecclesia Seminary, Nguru in Aboh Mbaise Council Area of Imo State has marked her general meeting come to stay, as the activities of the Association can be accessed on the web. The Association which held its first gathering on January 3rd, 2006 at St. Bridgit's Catholic Church, Nnarambia in Ahiara Diocese, stated its aim as to call members together as one family under the umbrella of 2002 Old Boys Association of Mater Ecclesiae. Recalling the president's opening remarks in 2006 when speaking on the aims and objectives of the Association, he posited that the Association will not only uphold the integrity of Mater Ecclesiae Seminary, but will create harmony and cordial relationship among its members and the society at large.

However, the aims and objectives of the Association till today rings bell in the mind of the president as he continued to harmmer on it every meeting, stressing that assisting one another remains the focus of the Association. The Association which holds its gathering meeting on yearly basis has hosted its Get Together four times since the inception of the Association. Mater 2002 Old Boys Association witnessed another great turn-out of members on this year's meeting held on January 3rd, as members from all walks of life were present, and contributed their various quota towards the upliftment of the Association.

Stressing further on this year's gathering, the president unbehalf of the Association applauded two of its members in the persons of Mr. Raphael Osuagwu and Prince Julius Amaefule for successfully hosting the meeting, amongst some other members clamouring to host the next meeting. Meanwhile, the Association is being manned by Bro. Laserian Iwu as the president, Mr. Petercever Onwudike as the Secretary, with Franklin Egbule, Moses Ohaegbuchi, Dan Chidi Ugwu and . Ozurumba-Uka Ugonna as voluntteed provost. Her next general meeting remains 3rd of January next year.

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Mbutu Nwe-Nkwo Autonomous Community: 5th “Bia Were Orji” Festival Marked


In an event which saw the presence of His Royal Highness Eze S.U. Ugochukwu, Eze Diohamma I of Mbutu Nwenkwo: the Chief whip of the house of Representatives Hon. Chief Sir, Emeka Ihedioha, Tittled and Honourable dignitaries; in a ceremony which witnessed the show of Love, brotherhood and fraternity. All these were the epic features of the annual “Bia were Orji” festival organized by the Mbutu Nwenkwo Autonomous Community. A traditional festivity of ancestral origin, which gives the people the solemn opportunity to articulate views of common interest that bind them together as a people.

In an address presented by the president-general of Mbutu Nwenkwo Autonomous Community, Mr. Goddy Onyeso. The people made known the efforts they have made in supporting the On-going road project, with particular reference to the link road of the two Communities: Ozara and Aronta that makes up the Autonomous Community. The president-general further decried the ugly situation of insecurity of the village, appealing to the people particularly the abroadians to show concern in whatever way the can to support the village Vigilante out- fit especially during this new year to enable the village to enjoy a crime free inhabitation, in the move to create a more avenue for finance, the community placed a palm harvest ban which takes effect from1st January 2009 through the month of February, and at the same time appealing to affected villages and other stakeholders to demonstrate a high sense of commitment during the harvest of these palms.

With the successful hosting of the “bia were orji” festival this year by the Umuaham Village, the cultural train will now move over to Amanku village. Notably dignities at the Occasion included H.R.H Eze S.U. Ugochukwu, Chief Sir C.O. Ugwu, Chief H.I. Asonye (Assonet), Chief Fan Njoku and other personalities.

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Harvest of Souls as 14 Couples were Joined in the Sacrament of Matrimony

Fourteen new couples were admitted into the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony in the Catholic family of Holy Ghost Parish Uvuru in Ahiara Diocese Mbaise. The tranquil event which kick started with a holy mass on the 13th of December 2008 was presided over by the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Chris Anyanwu. Fr. Anyanwu who basking in good health and being oven fresh from a medical trip abroad, blew hot while enunciating the responsibilities which the new couples have been called to, the new couples he held have been fully received into the Catholic fold as Christian fathers and mothers. Fr. Anyanwu who vehemently bared and warned against divorce for whatever reasons, reminded them that marriage was instituted by God, and as such, husbands and wives should work together and pray together even in times of pestilence and starvation. There should be mutual understanding he said, while handling and resolving family problems.

Fr. Anynawu further charged the couples with the utmost responsibility of bringing up their wards in the Christian way. Children should be taught to known God early in life by inculcating in them, the importance of prayer. He finally urged them to always do their best to eschew vices of sexual promiscuity, which finds expression in fornication, adultery, alcoholism and drug abuse.
Making his note of appreciation, Fr. Anyanwu acknowledged the efforts of the parish catechist Mr. Anthony Amuchie, on whose shoulders the burden of packaging these 14 families rested. He finally thanked all who were on hand to witness the solemn occasion. Features of the event were series of group entertainments.

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St. Patrick's Parish Umuevu Awards “Families Of The Year”

In the move to promote patriotism, sincere service and worship of God among the faithful, the parish priest, the parish council and the entire members of St. Patrick's Catholic parish Umuevu, have awarded certificates of honour, to some families who have sincerely presented themselves as ideal Catholics who have shown their faiths in good works. This gesture was indeed designed to reinforce outstanding and remarkable efforts, made both in the parish and village at large.

The appreciation was shown during the mass marking the annual parish day on the 26th of December 2008. Preaching his homily during the mass, Rev. Fr. Stephen Unamba, the parochial Vicar of Holy Trinity Parish Awaka Owerri and a good friend of the parish, emphasized on the need for Christians to practice sincere worship of God in season and out of season, he urged them to contribute in whatever way they can to see to the growth of the parish and the Church at large, because the Church he held, is the testimony of the people's faith. Fr. Unamba further charged all to always find reasons to be happy as God's children and most especially on this parish day and award of certificates. He oncemore encouraged such a nice gesture among the people as he beckoned on their parish priest Rev. Fr. Richard Nwachukwu to forge ahead in bringing forth ideal initiatives that would ensure the progress of the parish .

Fr. Unamba finally charged the people of Umuevu Onicha to stick to spectacular donations towards the building of God's house because the Church he said is the sign of God's grace. He prayed God to bequeath his blessings on the people as they bear him sincere witness. Families who were awarded with the certificate include the families of Chief Sir. & Lady V.A. Ezirike, Sir. & Lady Oliver Egbule, Mr. Titus Aluo, Chief Sir. & Lady A.C. Anyanwu, Mr. & Mrs. John Edward Ugbor, Chief Sir. &Lady Nicholas Konkwo, Mr. & Mrs. Alloy Ukaegbu, Barr. Chief & Lolo Chris Ugbor, Ezinne Violet Onwumere, Lolo Lacticia Ngozi Akudike, Nze & Lolo P.N. Ibe, Mrs. Gertrude Ego Osondu, Mrs. Pauline Keke and Mr. & Mrs. Ekelaka.

 

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Chief & Lolo I. D. Nwoga Marks Onyima Ceremony

The Onyima ceremony of Chief I.D. Nwoga and Nneoma T.U. Nwoga have been marked. The ceremony which trooped in mammoth dignitaries from all works of life was held at the Nwoga compound of Umuokirirka Ekwerazu, Ahiazu Mbaise on Tuesday, the 23th December, 2008. At the mass which heralded the festivity at St. Patrick's parish Ekwerazu, Msgr. P.C. Amakiri, who represented the bishop of Ahiara diocese, Most Rev. Dr. V.A. Chikwe, had during the homily called on Christians to love one another as Christ commanded. You should always see Christ in the life of your neighbour he said. Continuing Msgr. Amakiri observed: “your going to heaven depends on your relationship with your brother”

However, Msgr. Don Okoro, the parish priest of the parish, had during the opening rite of the mass, welcomed all to the Eucharistic celebration. He also used that opportunity to explain deeply the significance and importance of Onyima celebrations. It is a ceremony he said, during which the celebrants being alive to see and enjoy the affluence of their grand and great grand children, blesses them and wishes them future good. Making their vote of thanks shortly before the end of the mass, Chief I.D. Nwoga unbehalf of his wife, welcomed and thanked all who were on hand to grace the occasion, he prayed God to replenish their numerous endeavours. To solidify the appreciation shown by their parents, the children of the celebrants made a donation of half a million among other donations to aid the building of the father's rectory.
The ceremony later rolled into the civic reception of the celebrants at Nwoga's compound, where series of gift items were presented to them. The occasion also drew the presence of the Executive Governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim.

 

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Sisters Of The Sacred Heart Of Jesus,Enyiogugu: 1st Profession of 3 Novices Held

The first religious profession of vow of three Novices of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus congregation has been marked at Sacred Heart Hall, Umuokele Road Enyiogugu, on Saturday the 10th of January 2009. Making his opening speech during the introduction of the mass, His Lordship Most Rev. Dr. V.A. Chikwe observed: “Today is an important day in the life of the Church, a day and time when three of our Sisters will be received into the Sacred Vocation of Sisterhood.”

Preaching his homily, the prelate narrated the biblical episode of the call of Samuel, he re-echoed the answer of Samuel to this calling. This response he held, have also been given by the three Novices to be professed. He described the profession as a call which is only answered by those who are called. It is a Vocation which draws one closer to Christ, it entails making a step higher than the normal step, and the vocation is one of free choice and not of compulsion. Commenting on the three evangelical Counsels the novices are to keep, the prelate urged them to hold to voluntary poverty, he warned against the spirit of affluence, personal property and desperate sorting for positions and powers. The Bishop thereafter beckoned on them to be obedient to the rules of their Community and then to obey their superiors. He also charged them to be chaste and pure in heart. He finally prayed God to always add strength to their strength in carrying out their religious services.

Giving her vote of thanks shortly before the end of the mass, the mother mistress, Sr. Irene Russo, in the native Igbo Language, thanked God who has made the day, she extended her gratitude to the Bishop, Most Rev. Dr. V.A. Chikwe for making out time to be present at the occasion, she also thanked all Priests and every one present, praying God to grant all journey mercies back home. In a related Vein Pope Benedict XVI expressed his gratitude and satisfaction to the newly professed Sisters, while impacting his Papal blessings on them, as was read out by Rev. Fr. Chamberline Irozuru.
The newly professed Sisters were Sr. Patricia Odom- Alia, Purissima Adiele and Edith Ajaero.

 

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4th Edition Of Dr. Ewunonu Public Lecture Held

The 4th edition of Dr. Ewunonu Memorial lecture series, which was organized by the Mbutu Unique Circle, has been held. The public lecture which commenced at about 2pm on the 25th of December 2008, at the famous Mbutu secondary school, had His Royal Highness Eze (Sir) Michael Nwabueze Opara, Ubooha I of Mbutu Nweorie Autonomous community as the guest lecturer. All along, the annual lecture series have been a priviledge harvest of Royal lectures as all the traditional rulers in Mbutu have satisfactorily delivered previous lectures.

The lecture which had the topic “MMPU AND MBUTU DEVELOPMENT: AN INDEPTH EVALUATION”, Critically and dispassionately assessed the performances of the Town Union from its inception to date visa-vis its aims and objectives as well as its constitutionally assigned duties, so as to find out if it has lived up to its billing or otherwise. The lecture thereabout reassessed and determined the relevance of the union in the present setting in Mbutu and consequently, how the union can be restructured and empowered. Hence, MMPU which is an acronym Mbutu Mbaise progressive union was formed several decades ago to run and oversee the socio-political and cultural affairs of Mbutu community.

Giving his keynote address before the lecture proper, the chancellor, Mbutu unique circle of Nigeria (MUCON), Chief Deacon fan Njoku (Ugonna) adviced the group to always define its goals and vision for Mbutu, to avoid unnecessary suspicion about what it is out for in Mbutu and to set its priorities right before it is too late. Delivering his lecture, Eze Michael Opara praised the various MMPU executives who have handled the affairs of Mbutu to date. He high-ranked the vibrant regime of Chief Sir C.O. Ugwu, Livinus Iwuoha and G.N. Olum which he held solidified the electrification policy of Mbutu which was also hampered by poor financial resources as palm fruit communal harvest was no longer at MMPU disposal. This administration he had is highly remembered for its policy of democratization and liberalization principles of various blocs of Mbutu. He thereafter X-rayed the various problems of MMPU, the development strategy for Mbutu, the position of traditional rulers as instruments of development.

The highlights of the programme also featured citations on the good achievements of late Dr. Ewunonu, both in Mbutu and beyond which showed him as a national scholar, patriot, a philanthropist and a moral politician. May his gentle soul rest in peace, Amen.

 

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St. Patrick's 2002 Old Boys Committed To Assist Members

The 2002 Old Boys Association of St. Patrick's Secondary School Ogbe Ahiara in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State have been committed to assist members. The revealation was made by the Chairman of the association Mr. Ogbonna Chinenye in an address presented during the inauguration ceremony of the Association recently' at the School premise in Ogbe Ahiara.

In his address, be disclosed that the inauguration of the Association was in a. bid to bring its members together and to maintain a cordial relationship among them. Mr. Ogbonna hinted further that the inauguration of the Association is a welcome development in the sense that members can now relate with each other under the umbrella of St. Patrick's 2002 Old Boys Association. “Many of us lost contact from the day we graduated from the school, and have not seen each other since then. I believe that the inauguration of St. Patrick's 2002 Old Boys Association will go a long way in re-uniting us. I must confess that I'm happy to see my colleagues once again he said. The Chairman who held that little or nothing will be achieved with small number of members in attendance, called members to be committed, and be up and doing in getting members informed and involved in the Association.

He however frown at the behaviour of some members particularly the female ones, and enjoined all to shun discrimination and egoism in dealing with fellow members, and consider individual differences. He added that members should work hard in all areas of endeavour to actualize the aims and objectives of the Association.
Mr. Amanze Kelechi who was also present at the inauguration ceremony posited that members should not only look for perfection, but reasons to work together for the betterment of the Association. He further charged members from Ogbe Ahiara with the responsibility of informing members of the Association, for they constitute a large population of members.


 


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