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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Fanfare, Funfair, As Community’s First Indigenous Catholic Priest Marks 25th Priestly Anniversary in Anambra


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

It was a momentous occasion as Rev. Fr. Donatus Ikechukwu Ezenneka celebrated his 25th anniversary as a priest and servant in the vineyard of God.

Fr. Ezennaka, an American-based clergy, is the first indigenous Catholic priest in Ebenator, Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, and is reputed to be one of the most widely-travelledv and most impactful priests in the State

The jubilant festivities commenced with a special mass at St. Mayhew’s Catholic Church, Ebenator, where parishioners, friends, and well-wishers gathered to fete with, honour and express gratitude for Fr. Ezenneka’s quarter-century of service. The occasion was interwoven with joy and thanksgiving, creating an atmosphere of spiritual reflection and communal celebration.

In his homily during the mass, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Evaristus Obi urged the congregation to reflect on the sacred calling that Rev. Fr. Donatus Ezenneka has embraced for the past 25 years, while thanking God for his anointing and blessings upon Fr. Ezenneka, emphasizing the sacrificial nature of the priestly vocation, as well as highlighting the responsibilities and challenges that come with serving the spiritual needs of a community as a servant of God.

Furthermore, Fr. Obi advised the gathered faithful to actively support and fervently pray for their priests, underscoring the vital role that communal encouragement and prayer play in sustaining the spiritual strength of those dedicated to the priesthood; even as he also emphasized that the challenges faced by priests are often alleviated through the collective support and prayers of the community they serve.

While showering panegyrics on Fr. Ezenneka, he also hailed him for deeming it necessary to specially appreciate God for his anointing and guidance over the last 25 years and still counting.

In his own remarks, the celebrant, Fr. Ezenneka traced the transformative journey that led him to become the first indigenous Catholic priest in Ebenator, sharing anecdotes of the challenges and triumphs he experienced in his journey to priesthood.

Fr. Ezenneka, who thanked God for helping him to discover and answer his calling early enough when no indigene of Ebenator showed any interest in priesthood, also conveyed his appreciation for the guidance and mentorship he received from fellow priests, which, he said, played pivotal role in shaping his spiritual mission.

“The first day I heard about priesthood was the day I answered the call; and my priestly journey has been a journey of faith so far,” he said.

Fr. Ezenneka, a quintessential philanthropist, also recounted some of the ways God has used him to provide selfless service to humanity from the day he was ordained, which was also the day he started awarding scholarship till date, among other initiatives through which he has helped humanity, including the “Wax N Tower”, which he newly launched for the benefits of the youths and families.

The well-attended climatic event, which was climaxed by a convivial gathering at Fr. Ezenneka’s residence, also featured an outpour of panegyrics on the celebrant, even as many individuals and groups paid homage to him under the melodious tunes oozing out from the corners of Chigbo Orjiakor’s (Eze Egwu Ekpili) live band, Ụmụada Ụmụdara cultural troupe, and St. Matthew’s Parish, Ebenator’s band.

The celebration not only marked a milestone in Fr. Ezenneka’s priestly journey but also stood as a testament to his enduring spirit of faith, and service to God and humanity.

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