The Auxiliary Bishop of Enugu, Most Rev. Dr. Ernest Obodo, the Vicar General of Enugu Diocese, Mgsr. Luke Adike, our dear Parish Priests, Mongr. Christopher Enem, and Rev. Fr. Dr. Christopher Okudo, Our indigenous Priests and Religious, Our Traditional Rulers and Town Union President Generals, Chiefs & Titled men and women, My Lords, temporal, Distinguished Dignitaries, Distinguished Guests, and my fellow ndi Abor, umune umune, at home and in diaspora. I welcome you all at this epoch-making, once in a life-time, grand Celebration, marking the Centenary (100 years) of the coming of the Catholic Church in our community.
It has been a very long journey all these years for the Church in Abor. It has equally been a long and tedious journey for the Centenary Planning Committee to come to this day. Within the one year of the inauguration of the Centenary Committee, the Committee has not rested on its oars to see that our people are mobilized, that funds are raised, that some projects are executed and that a worthwhile and impact-filled Centenary Celebration of Catholicism in Abor is successfully organised for our community.
The Centenary Celebration started with the successful Centenary Tree Planting exercises at both St Theresa Parish Umuavulu Abor and St Peter Parish Abor, on 26th May 2019 and 30th June 2019, respectively. The Tree Planting exercises were later further extended to various quarters and villages of Abor. Again, there was the Foundation-laying Ceremony for Centenary towers at the St Theresa Parish. Though we had hoped to complete this project before this day, we are grateful to God for the bit we have done so far. Rome was not built in a day! At individual, family, and group levels, most of us have contributed tangibly towards the Centenary Project. Some group under the CWO of Umuavulu Abor constructed an extra water-system toilet facility in the hall at St Theresa, in the bid to celebrate the Catholic Centenary. Some other individuals who do not want to be recognized publicly have started the construction/ equipping of a computer centre at St Theresa College, Umuavulu Abor, in honour of the Centenary too. This Centenary Celebration has also drawn the attention of our community, especially those in diaspora (USA, particularly), our archer group, ndi ike, anyi ji eje ogu, to the dilapidating conditions of some of the primary schools in our community; on this there is a promise they would definitely do something to remedy the situation.
A number of activities, spanning from 27th to 29th December, are scheduled for the Centenary Celebration proper. We have so far successfully gone through the Health Walk, Medical Mission, and novelty football match and other events scheduled for the 27th of December. The Centenary Mass commemorating the first holy mass celebrated at Abor has been done at Warrant Chief Ozo Ngwunwagu Onodugo’s Compound yesterday, the 28th of December, in the morning. Again, on the 28th, same yesterday, a Mass Wedding and Gala Award Evening were held at St Peter Catholic Church and premises. Today is the grand finale – the Centenary Unity Mass and reception.
Support and Praise
We have recorded a massive support of our people in all the activities we have undertaken including the centenary projects in the two parishes, the tree planting exercises, the production of the centenary brochure and T-shirts & caps, and in all the Centenary activities.
We want to use this opportunity to thank and appreciate our people for the massive support and passion that you have shown for this centenary project.
As individuals, families, parishes and community, we have so many reasons to praise and glorify God for HIS mercies, graces, blessings and love on all of us and our community. Over the past 100 years, we have seen positive developments in all areas of our spiritual, social, political and economic lives, especially in the areas of education, economic empowerment, social development, infrastructural development, and general wellbeing of our people. 100 years ago when our forefathers welcomed the missionaries to our community, I am sure that they must have been apprehensive. Several years after, it is clear that their efforts have not been in vain.
We are thankful to God for bringing us to this level and keeping us alive till today, in spite of the economic, political and social challenges that we as a community have witnessed, and especially in this national and global perilous times where insecurity have become quite prevalent.
We particularly want to acknowledge and appreciate the effort of Late Warrant Chief Ngwunwagu Onodugo who in 1919 provoked, initiated, and promoted the establishment of the Roman Catholic Mission and Schools in Abor. We appreciate also members of the larger Onodugo family who have supported the entire Centenary project in remarkable ways we need not mention here. We also appreciate the efforts of all the other people and leaders of Abor and the Church, for example late HRH Igwe L.U. Ukwu, who founded Christ High School, a foremost secondary school in the old Udi Local Government Area, which trained most of our people in those days. We cannot forget to thank the present Parish Priests of the two Catholic Parishes in Abor, Mongr. Christopher Enem and Rev. Fr. Dr. Christopher Okudo, for their relentless efforts in ensuring that the Centenary Celebration became a reality. We also thank the Auxiliary Bishop of Enugu, all the priests and the Religious that came with him, and the entire Enugu Diocese. Our own brothers and sisters, the Abor Rev. Fathers and Sisters are not forgotten. All our people and friends here are appreciated.
As we celebrate 100 years of the Catholic Church in our community, may we guard the peace and unity that has been achieved over the period with all sense of purpose. May God continue to bless and prosper our community in all our undertakings, Amen
I thank you all.
Abor – Udo na Ifunanya.
Udo na Ifunanya – Abor
Chief Chike Onodugo (Ezedinobi)
Chairman, Centenary Planning Committee