By Johnpaul Nwotsa
The Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Michael Nnachi Okoro on Monday, 27th May, 2019, blessed and officially unveiled the Marian Grotto built by Rev. Fr. Alex N. Eze, the Parish Priest of Holy Rosary Parish, Agalegu Amachi, in collaboration with his parishioners, friends and well wishers.
To mark the occasion, a special enlightenment was given by Rev. Fr. Jude Agama, under the direction of Bishop Okoro who had told him to briefly enlighten Catholic faithful present on the importance of Mother Mary in our lives.
Fr. Jude Agama, the Parish Priest of St. Jude’s Parish Umuezeokoha, Ezza, said that the Blessed Mother Mary was given the gift from God of being conceived without original sin and that is to say that from the moment of her conception, Mary was given the Grace not only of freedom from original sin, but of being the only human being other than her Divine Son who lived a life without sin.
Fr. Jude noted that the mother church teaches that the Blessed Mother Mary was given this very special Grace of liberation from the effects of sin in part because she would be the Mother of God, she would bear the second person of the Blessed Trinity in her womb for nine months.
Fr. Jude acknowledged that Catholics give so much attention to Mother Mary, and explained that Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was credited with a simple response to this question: “No Mary, no Jesus”.
And St. Paul writes in Galatians that, “when the fullness of time had come, God sent his son, born of woman born under the law (4:4). This means that a woman named Mary – the Mother of the Incarnate word of God is at the very centre of salvation history.
He said that St. Thomas Aquinas also taught that God in his Omnipotent power could have restored human nature in many different ways, but he chose to redeem us by becoming incarnate of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
After the homily, Bishop Okoro Blessed the Grotto and urged the parishioners to start making use of it, and advised them to always run to our Mother Mary in time of their difficulties because she will never cease to hear our prayers and requests.
Speaking with Citizens’ Advocate, Rev. Fr. Alex N. Eze, stated that he was overwhelmed as the Bishop came to bless and officially unveil the Marian Grotto for use and benefit for mankind, Fr. Alex acknowledged the efforts so far by the parishioners, friends and well wishers, in a special way.
He appreciated the good number of Abakaliki priests and other personalities who came to join him and the parishioners to welcome our Lord, Bishop Okoro and prayed God to reward them abundantly.
He, therefore, solicited help from individuals, government and agencies to support the parish financially to enable him develop the parish very fast.
In a similar way, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Peter Chukwu the immediate Past Chairman of Association of Nigeria Priests Abakaliki Diocese (ANPAD), and now the Chairman of Board, Umunnachi Micro Finance Bank Limited, described Fr Alex Eze as a “trail blaizer” that anywhere you send Fr. Alex Eze, he distinguishes himself.
He said that it was not long he was posted to Holy Rosary Parish and within a couple of some months not even a year, he was able to erect this enviable structure of Grotto of our Blessed Virgin Mary and therefore advised the parishioners to always cooperate with Fr. Alex in order to develop the parish.
Furthermore, Engr. Fidelis Nwankwo (IDE NKE NZUKO), the Chairman, Governing Council, Ikwo College of Education and Prof. Emeritus F.I. Idike, the immediate past Vice Chancellor, Ebonyi State University expressed their joy for Fr Alex Eze on his good initiative in any parish he is sent to.
They stated that the Holy Rosary Parish Agalegu, Amachi is lucky to have a priest like Fr Eze and that he has started transforming their parish just as he was doing when he was at St. Gabriel’s Parish Onuebonyi.
They urged the parishioners to support Fr. Eze financially and otherwise, in order to develop their parish in no distance time as he has started.
The Chairperson, Catholic Women Organization (CWO) of the Parish, on behalf of other executives of different organizations and parishioners thanked His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Michael Nnachi Okoro for accepting to come and bless their Marian Grotto built by Rev. Fr Alex who was posted to their parish in September 2018, and within some months he has started transforming their parish.
Mrs. Nwiboko further stated that they are lucky to have Fr. Alex Eze in their parish because they were the envy of St. Gabriel Parish Onuebonyi when Fr. Alex Eze was there, but thanked God that after his further studies at Austria, Bishop sent him to their parish.
She therefore appealed to individuals, government and any agency to come to their aid and support them financially and prayed God to give him the good health to continue the good work.
She promised that the parishioners will always cooperate with him because a tree can never make a forest.