Bishop Okeke decries church politics, attack on Christian worshippers
By Gabriel Chy Alonta
The Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Most Rev. Hilary Paul Odili Okeke, has lamented the loss of lives that followed the violent attack on worshippers at St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, in 2017.
The bishop, who spoke while re-dedicating the church after it was reconstructed, urged Christians to recognise the sacredness of the church as an institution “under the authority and guidance of God.”
He said that Christ exemplified love and advised Christians to love one another, noting that “love for mankind sets the Christianity apart from other religions,” and encouraged all to reward evil with love. He said that being the house of God, the church should be seen as a house of prayer for the faithful, not a place for politics. He also warned against using the church for other activities that do not give glory to God.
The prelate prayed for God’s guidance on the church and the people throughout the year and declared that “the gate of hell will never prevail against the church.”
He thanked Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonu, an Ozubulu born philanthropist, for single handedly building St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, and for his generosity towards the church and mankind, and prayed God to bless him abundantly.
Speaking during the occasion, Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonu thanked God for using him as an instrument for the service of mankind. He also thanked the church for their prayers that helped to sustain him after the tragedy that befell St. Philip’s Church three years ago, even as he prayed that such ugly incident would not be experienced again.
The dedication ceremony was also attended by some Catholic bishops, priests and the traditional ruler of Ozubulu, Igwe Fidelis Oruche, among others.
High points of the event were the dedication of the multi-million naira church, grotto and a chapel, all built by Chief Ikegwuonu, by Bishop Odili Okeke.