By Edeh Nwigwe
Since early May 2019 when the news of the Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese approval that some priests from Umuhuali zone, and Ishielu Denary would be ordained at the Denary headquarters, the Corpus Christi Parish, Umuhuali, there were jubilations in Umuhuali.
Both the Catholic communities and even the non Christians in the area have seen and described the arrangement by Bishop M.N. Okoro as a good omen aimed at Christianizing the entire community.
Briefing the Citizens’ Advocate at the church premises recently, the Vice Chairman of the Parish Council, Bro. Geoffrey Idenyi, who thanked God for the positive and divine arrangement to Umuhuali, said that God has remembered the Corpus Christi Church in Umuhuali for her doggedness since the coming of missionary under the then Ogoja province, being the offshoot of over 7 parishes.
He remarked that most of the foreign missionaries who visited Abakaliki were always posted to the area to man the denary or the entire zone from Umuhuali.
Bro. Idenyi also attributed the Bishop’s approval of the parish centre, Umuhuali for the ordination to the 10 thousand capacity church edifice of the parish set up by Very Rev. Fr. Cornelius C. Chukwu.
In his own assertion, one of the pioneer converts, Chief Patrick Udoku said that by designating the Umuhuali parish for the ordination, the “Lord has came down to the people of Umuhuali and the entire denary in the likeness of men” and that it would not only propagate faith but bring in more converts to God, among other things.
The President of the Catholic Women Organization (CWO) in the parish, Mrs. Helen Chima and the former secretary to the parish council, Mrs. Anthonia Ogbunkwu said that with that singular gesture, the gospel has gone to every door step across the zone and the denary.
She assured that the women would ensure that no soul is lost and to bring more to God. They also noted that it was a dual blessing to Umuhuali Catholic faithful and the community for their 2nd son to be ordained in their own house, adding that their 1st son, Rev. Fr. Annacletus Ogbunkwu was the 1st indigenous priest who gave birth to the 2nd, Rev. Fr. Francis Ogodo in their domain and thanked God for passing the divine verdict through the Holy Spirit to his Lordship.
A trip to the parish centre in the area, one would notice that all hands were on deck to make the entire community and the church worth their onion before the ‘D’ day.
On the arrangement so far, the secretary of the parish council, Mrs. Ekuma Eucharia told the reporter that all the 12 zones of the church have taken up different functions to ensure the success of the great occasion on 12th July 2019.
She also hinted that even though the entire work in the church would not be completed before then, but some substantial areas must be put ready for the ordination, adding that a total of 3 priests, from neighbouring communities of Amaezu and Obeagu would also be ordained same day in Umuhuali.
She also remarked that since the coming of Fr. C.C. Chukwu to the parish about 26 year ago, it was the new dawn for their sons and daughters bagging priests and religious ordinations and apart from the 2 priests and 4 reverend sisters from the area, others are seminarians and other sisters congregation for professions.
She described the parish priest as “a great light after a great darkness” and an extra-ordinary priest in the Diocese.
It would be recalled that his Lordship the Catholic Bishop of Abakalik Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. M. N. Okoro has designated Corpus Christ Umuhuali for the ordination of priest on the 12 July 2019, as a divine project.
To that effect, the Christians and non Christians alike have vowed to troop out from all nooks and crannies of the community in particular, to witness the 1st ordination on their soil.
The Catholic community also invited their sons/daughters and well wishers in Igbo-asa, and beyond to the area.