Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
A magnificent church built with the finest materials recently sprang up at Umudioka; the community of the Blessed Iwene Tansi. The inside, altar and other holy ornaments in the church are made of gold.
Some call it another Basilica located in Umudioka community outside the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha, and Cathedral of the Catholic Church in Onitsha Archdiocese.
Welcome to the Blessed Iwene Tansi Catholic Church, Umudioka, Dunukofia Local Government Area, Anambra State where the Nkwele Ezunaka-born young charismatic priest and Spiritual Director of the crowd-pulling, Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, Rev. Fr Emmanuel Obimma (Ebube Muonso) is in charge.
The big story is that the foundation to completion of this magnificent edifice was done within three years even when other parishes in the Onitsha Archdiocese spend about seven to ten years to build their parish churches.
Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke who dedicated the 10,000 capacity church said in a homily that it is a great privilege to build for God. He recalled the biblical story of David who wanted to build a mighty temple for God but was rejected while his son, Solomon was chosen instead for the assignment.
Archbishop Okeke clarified that church dedication is different from blessing of other edifices noting that in dedication, a person who might have built such structure relinquishes ownership of such property completely while in blessing a house; the builder can continue ownership of such structure even after blessing by a cleric.
He described church dedication as a serious business reserved only for bishops who represent Christ, the owner of the church and explained that the bishop could delegate other priests for numerous assignments like confirmation, burials and other highly spiritual functions but not for church dedication unless a fellow bishop.
The Archbishop prayed that all who may step into the church to pray for any need receive positive answers from God while the afflicted in any form also find comfort in the church.
Many who spoke during the dedication marvelled at the speedy transformation which took place at the Umudioka parish under Fr Ebube Muonso that for a parish that was created as an independent station in September 2014 can today boast of a gigantic church auditorium, magnificent school complex and with numerical strength of members in triple folds.
Vice Chairman of the Parish Council, Mr Alphonsus Edozie in a message delivered during the dedication said Archbishop Okeke might have been moved by the Holy Spirit to post Rev. Fr Obimma, Ebube Muonso to step into the shoes of Blessed Iwene Tansi in beginning a new parish in Umudioka and completing such church in record time.
He described such feat as “magical and uncommon experience, a mystery to say the least”
Edozie recalled that Iwene Tansi was the first parish priest in Umudioka and Dunukofia region, disclosing that it was the same Umudioka people who did not hesitate in giving out timbers to Bishop Joseph Shanahan when he was building the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Onitsha.
“To immortalize the name of the pioneer parish priest in Umudioka, the first outstation from St Anthony’s Catholic Church, Dunukofia was named after Blessed Iwene Tansi, the first West African/Nigerian to be so honoured in the history of the Catholic Church. To pioneer this first Parish, is to us a reincarnation of Blessed Tansi, a man as dark and tall as Blessed Tansi with the same stammering speech and are temperamentally alike in character. When the history of the evangelisation of Umudioka is comprehensively written, it should be noted that two look-alike pioneer priests walked the streets of the town,” he noted.
In his remarks, the parish priest, Fr Obimma lauded Archbishop Okeke for his fatherly role in the Archdiocese of Onitsha and also recalled the wonderful grace of God which saw him and the entire parishioners through to complete the church building.
He among other benefactors applauded Vice Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Peter Obi for providing the entire chairs and marble decorations inside the church unsolicited.
Obimma also said that Senator Andy Ubah provided funds for the interlocking of the compound while Senator Victor Umeh sponsored the vestments worn by Reverend Fathers for the event.
Other personalities that attended the dedication were Senators Uche Ekwunife, Stella Oduah, and more than hundred priests including the Catholic Bishop of Minna Diocese, Martin Uzoukwu and Auxiliary Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese, Dennis Isizor, among others.
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