They have waited for this day; they have put in a lot of preparation; they have cleared the overgrown grass which covered the gigantic church at the foundation level; they had beautified the church and canopies, as a matter of fact; they worked all day the previous day (Saturday, August 1—feast of St Alphonsus their Patron Saint), to making sure they raised up to the lintel level their new Rev. Fathers house, which has been their long dream–they need a priest to live close to them.
It was Sunday, 2nd of August, the day they chose to celebrate Alphonsus in a big way for the first time. This time they had invited all the Redemptorist priests and brothers as well as laity of parishes where we are working including their friends and well wishers– to celebrate with them.
Arrival of Very Rev Fr Kingsley Onyekuru ushered in what later turned out to be a celebration of rediscovery of how very special this church and its faithful are in the eyes of the Redemptorists and St Alphonsus!
The Mass was celebrated by Very Rev Fr. Kingsley Onyekuru, joined by Fr Henry Omeike and Thadeus Egwu, student on pastoral year. After the mass Fr. Remigius Okere, Fr. George Okoroigwe and Bro Simeon Okafor Joined at the celebration. During the mass Very Fr. Kingsley unveiled a beautiful portrait of St. Alphonus. Then Fr. Henry Omeike led the people through a prayer to St. Alphonsus for healing of all kinds of pain–being the patron of arthritis and other pains. A devotion around St. Alphonus has now been birthed in the church.
At the reception after the liturgy, there was plenty of competitions, dancing, cultural display and young talents with plenty of food to eat and something to drink.
Indeed members of the church have once again reawakened their love of St. Alphonsus their patron saint, love for the Redmptorists who are working in their midst. In fact they express a sense of ownership of the Redemptorist, they say: St Alphonsus Ira is the headquarters of the Redemptorists in Nigeria, and we are the owners of of all the Redemptorists in Nigeria since we are the only church that go by the name of St Alphonsus, Founder of the Redemptorists!”
They vowed to invite the Superior General to celebrate with them in subsequent celebration!
Henry Omeike, C.Ss.R