A Celebration of Faith, Love, Unity and Progress in Ebo n’isato
Though the history of Christianity in most parts of Igboland and Nigeria is also linked with the history of colonialism, with all its other side, yet it is a glaring fact that Christianity has done a lot of good and is indeed a blessing to our people, if weighed side by side with what was prevalent then. The arrival of the Church, for example, put an end to the killing of twins, slave trade, obnoxious settling of scores, illiteracy and general ignorance about the world and the raison d’etre. The difference between the old and the Christian ways of life was so clear that most positive minded individuals who came in contact with Christianity embraced this new life and the enlightenment that came with it. And so their lives changed. So it was in Abor.
A very prominent missionary who revolutionized the Catholic approach to evangelism when he arrived in Onitsha in 1902 was Father (later Bishop) Shanahan. He carried the Catholic Church throughout Igboland through a formidable education policy (Okpalike, & Nwadialor, citing Nwosuh, 2012). Thus, in 1919, when the Abor people embraced Catholicism, they also embraced formal (school) education, which came with Catholicism. Since then, our community has continually grown, not only in living out the Catholic Christian virtues – of faith, hope, and love, but also in unity and progress – educationally, materially and human assets. There is nothing good that Abor has not gained through the Catholic Church. We have a number of Reverend Fathers, Reverend Sisters, Reverend Brothers and the Religious; we also have world-class professors, teachers, doctors (medical and academic), engineers, builders, economists, business managers, artists, designers, and what have you.
Today, in 2019, a hundred years after the arrival of the Church in Abor, two Catholic Cathedrals, St. Theresa Catholic Parish, Umuavulu Abor and St. Peter Catholic Parish, Abor, are standing in our community, attending to the spiritual needs of our people and spurring us to greater heights. Umu Ebo n’isato, together with their relations and affiliates, far and wide, are happy to be witnessing this epoch-making, once in a century event, and are rolling out their drums, in thankfulness to God.
The extent of goodwill messages, including articles, received by the editorial team of this Centenary brochure is a sure revelation of the high positive impact value of the Church to the entire Abor and her affiliates. It is our hope that this Centenary brochure becomes not just a source of knowledge but an archival reference material for our people and researchers world-wide.
Please permit whatever shortcomings that may be found in this compendium; we had only a little time to put this together. As you flip through the pages of this brochure, you would continue to glorify God for his numerous blessings on our people.
The Editorial team wishes to thank the Parish Priests in Abor, Mongr. Enem of St. Theresa Catholic Church Umuavulu Abor, who initiated this idea of the Centenary Celebration, and Rev. Fr. Dr. Okudo of St Peter Catholic Parish Abor, a progressive, who immediately queued into the idea, giving it a new fire. We thank the members of the parishes, and the Centenary Planning Committee, of which the Editorial Committee is only a subset, for all their support. We are grateful to all who have sent their goodwill messages, the article contributors, and all the supporters of this brochure. May God bless you all.
Dr. Ojel Clara Anidi
On behalf of the Editorial Board
Abor Catholic Centenary Celebration Brochure