I became very much privileged to witness the solemn Dedication of this mega Church Building. This sincerely makes it the first Catholic Parish I participated in the whole process and I am entirely grateful to God to be part of this spiritual exercise and for the fact, that most often we may not understand the value of such spiritual activity, we tend to negate the reality of it.
The five hours Mass, which was ably officiated by His Excellency, Most Rev. Prof. Augustine Ndubueze Echema, the Catholic Bishop of Aba, was filled with great iconic events. The observations of the rites and the procedures carried out by the Bishop signifies the orderliness of Catholicism and it is very impressionable in the lives of everyone that attended the event. Being the first time, I took time to listen and watch how the Professor of Liturgy, Bishop Echema, took the work of dedication as an act and art. It is an act because the major players of the spiritual demonstrations, were filled with actions and the mannerism which were intuitively invested at the course of the dedication, made it more artistic.
Each of the liturgical episodes carries a moment of awe, surprise and expression of faith. The fantastic protocol, the swelling differences in responses from people, chart a significant role every human person plays in the actualization of every successful story. And at times, our dream for our life and the world, we occupy, wears a systematic change, only if there is a better effort applied.
For the past twenty-four years, the Catholic Church of St. Mary, Abayi Ariaria, Aba, has remained focused in trying to build a befitting place for God. The cooperation of the Catholic Community has been massive and the interesting moment of their life today was to see it given back to God, whose house they have finally completed. Their fulfilment was not only tracing at the avenue of the Dedication, but mustering courage to put to finish the intimidating Church structure. While their joy knows no bounds, the intimate friendship they have built with God Almighty, grew into a shrub. And today, the tree has borne fruits and in countless times will they reap the benefits.
While we thank God and the people of this noble Parish for joining faith with their former and present pastors to realize this long-awaited dream, it is good to point out that the significance of this program in the lives of every Christian, is to show that Christ lives with us and He is present in our lives through what we do daily for him. And anytime we withdraw from Him, we become arid and encounter certain spiritual dryness which necessarily needs a refinery to furnish it back into a spiritual abundance.
While the Bishop expresses his joy and sentiment of gratitude to the people of St. Mary, he charged them to become faithful worshippers to the body of Christ. He warned them against desecration and abuses and asked them to become great defenders of the Church they have constructed for their own spiritual nourishment. He assured them of his pastoral responsibilities and urge them to work in cordial relationship with their Parish Rector and his crew, in order to arrive at a circuit where they’d be governed by the thoughts of the Supreme God. He concluded, however, by naming the Parish the seventh Vacatriate of the Diocese with the Parish as the headquarter.
It is with this same pleasure that I congratulate the beautiful people of this Catholic Parish and prays that this enormous spiritual task, which they have taken, will forward to them an unceasing blessing.
• [The seventh Catholic Church, dedicated in the Catholic Diocese of Aba on the Seventh Day of February and named the Seventh Vicariate of the Diocese]