… celebrates new yam festival
Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Awka Diocesan priests, religious, 2017/2018 out-going and 2018/2019 in-coming Episcopal household recently filed out at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral’s refectory to witness the celebration of Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor’s annual iwaji (new yam) festival. The visibly elated priests came in their numbers and adorned all manner of traditional attire.
Speaking immediately after cutting the roasted new yam and declaring it open for consumption, the chief shepherd of Awka Diocese expressed gratitude to God for his mercies and good health and for allowing them to participate in another round of iwaji celebration.
Bishop Ezeokafor who described yam as the king of all crops, said the period of iwaji was actually a period of thanksgiving to God for His benevolence and for granting the farmers bountiful harvest, noting that he (Bishop Ezeokafor) would continue to appreciate culture and tradition, describing it as Igbo’s identity.
The Catholic Prelate who ate the yam with well garnished sauce in the full glare of those who came to celebrate with him, urged Ndigbo to uphold their cultural heritage, noting that it was only an insane fellow and dimwit that would undermine their culture.
The chief Shepherd of Awka Catholic Diocese announced that the celebration at the Cathedral would be carried out simultaneously in all the parishes in Awka Diocese, noting that he was not alone in the celebration.
The Local Ordinary flanked by the Awka Diocesan Chancellor, Very Rev. Dr. Francis Chidume and Msgr. JPC Nzomiwu, said he saw nothing wrong in people celebrating their culture provided it was not done in a fetish way.
Bishop Ezeokafor called on government at all levels to give culture a facelift by providing incentives and also to pay adequate attention to the celebrants.
In their separate speeches, the Awka Diocesan Chancellor, Very Rev. Dr. Francis Chidume; Cathedral Administrator, Very Rev. Dr. Matthew Attansey and the Bishop Ezeokafor’s secretary, Rev. Fr. Dr. Michael Monwe harped on humility and diligence.
Meanwhile, Bishop Ezeokafor on the occasion received 2018/2019 Episcopal Household Seminarians (three senior and nine junior seminarians). This is even as the out-gone seminarians who served in the year 2017/2018 appreciated their priests with gifts as approved by Bishop Ezeokafor.
The out-gone seminarians are as follows: Seniors – Izuchukwu Nichodemus (Secretariat); Nwobodo Peter (CADADD) and Ezeamaechi Cyriacus (Cathedral Parish).
Juniors – Ezeanya Callistus, Nwafor Brendan, Hyginus Okeke, Umealadi Cosmas, Nwolisa Augustine, Obiefuna Henry, Ononamadu Augustine, Uzoeghe Fredkenneth, Ezeokafor Jude and Okeke Vitalis.
Newly received seminarians are as follows: Senior, Obiagba Nelson (Secretariat) and Odilimmuo Innocent (CADADD). Junior, Agu Johnmary, Offordile, Michael-Dominic, Okechukwu Joseph, Amamchukwu Patrick, Gregory Wilson, Okafor Johnbosco, Okafor Pascal, Okoye John Paul, Obiagboso Patrick and Anaetoh Pascal.