The evening of Saturday, October 7, 2023 recorded an event laced with great joy and beautiful festivity at the Bishop’s residence of the Catholic Diocese of Okigwe, as Most Rev. S. A. Amatu, the Bishop of Okigwe diocese celebrated his 45th priestly anniversary. The grand celebration which took place at the dining hall kicked off with the evening prayers and benediction.
The journey began 73 years ago at Dunukofia, where Most Rev. S. A. Amatu was born, on December 17, 1950. He was later ordained a priest of Awka Diocese on October 7, 1978. Upon distinguishing himself at different areas of assignment, he was appointed Auxilliary Bishop of Awka on Dec 22, 2000. On 28 May, 2005, he was appointed coadjutor Bishop for Okigwe Diocese and on the 22nd of April, 2006, he succeeded as Bishop of Okigwe Diocese, where he remains till date.
The ceremony which marked his 45th anniversary as a priest of God was commenced at the dining hall with an opening prayer said by Msgr. S Anyanwu at exactly 8:13pm. Still rendering the opening remarks, Msgr. S. Anyanwu commended the Bishop for the many wonderful things he has been able to achieve so far in the diocese within his stay as the bishop. He also commended him in a special manner for achieving this great milestone especially as he passed through all the prior offices which led him to being the bishop. Finally, he prayed that the good Lord may continue to bless and keep him safe always especially as he continues to work in the lord’s vineyard.
Other highlights of the ceremony include:
– song presentations by the students;
– cutting of the anniversary cake
– toast making by Rev. Frs. Innocent Obasi and Stanislaus Nwachukwu
– heavy refreshment
– distribution of gifts by the bishop
– final blessing from the bishop
Students from All Saints Technical School, Ugwuaku, and young Seminarians from St. Peter’s Seminary, Okigwe contributed in making the night worthwhile with their angelic voices as they sang in celebration of our Lord Bishop.
In his closing remarks, the bishop thanked all who came out to celebrate him, regardless of the security collapse of the time. He commended the students who came for their wonderful renditions and calculated comportment.
The bishop also used the opportunity to observe that there is a huge decline in the appreciation of music in liturgy. He also advised people especially those in authority to stop covering up their inadequacies with scolding.
Furthermore, he advised all to strive in cultivating their own talents especially in the aspect of music as there are so many of other talents. He also said that anyone selected to teach in the seminaries should know that they were selected because of their good character and skills they have to offer. Thus, everyone should thrive wherever he finds himself. He also advised the Priests present to continue working assiduously and encouraged all to pray at least five decades of the Rosary for peace in our diocese which is currently under siege by gunmen. He therefore shared and blessed rosaries for the purpose of the spiritual warfare. Conclusively, he lamented on the continuous decline of the economy, pointing out specifically how it has been very difficult and demanding for him to fund the running of the Bishop’s House, especially, with particular reference to the cost of diesel.
Finally, the bishop expressed his gratitude to the sponsors of the celebration. He said the closing prayer and imparted his blessings on all present, at 09:50 pm; thus, the ceremony was brought to a halt.
Some of the guests whose presence beautified the event include:
Very Rev. Msgr. Simon Anyanwu
Very Rev. Msgr. Patrick Obike
Very Rev. Frs. Bartholomew Nnaemedo
Very Rev. Fr. Princewill Iwuanyanwu
Very Rev. Fr. Peter Anyanwu
Rev. Fr. Chibuike Uwakwe
Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Esiagu
Rev. Fr. Innocent Obasi
Rev. Fr. Issac Eleweke
Rev. Fr. Donatus Iwu
Rev. Fr. Michael Ikem
Rev. Fr. Augustine Ezeonyiwara
Rev. Fr. Stanislaus Nwachukwu
Rev. Fr. Christian Ajomiwe
Rev. Fr. Paschal Ebirim
Rev. Fr. Bright Oformezie
Sisters of the DDL
Students from St. Peter’s Seminary, Okigwe, and All Saints Technical Secondary School, Ugwuaku respectively.