Remains of Fr. Nweze laid to rest

By Charles Ezema and Blessing Amedu

The remains of late Fr. Alphonsus Nweze were on Tuesday, August 22 committed to the mother earth at the St. Teresa's Catholic Cathedral Cemetery, Nsukka after a funeral Mass which culminated the series of funeral activities held across some Parishes in honour of the deceased.

Fr. Nweze who journeyed back to his creator on Thursday, July 27 at his Onuiyi residence, died from a protracted ailment that befell him sometime in September 2006 while he was celebrating a Sunday Mass in his then duty post, St. Mary's Station, Ibagwa road as captured in an oration delivered at his funeral Mass by one of his family members.

In his homily at the funeral mass, Fr. Sunday Okwor said that in spite of the common knowledge that death is inevitable, some people still play ignorant to that fact as expressed in their selfish attitude and excessive desire to cheat others and deny them their rights. He said that since we are aware that death is a sure fruit everybody must taste, we shouldn’t be afraid of it or people who threaten to kill us because someday we must die but we can never die except at God's approved time. He enjoined the congregation to use their talents now they are alive to help people and make the world a better place rather than allowing the fear of death which -whether they like it or detest it - will come someday, to deter them from accomplishing their God-assigned tasks here on earth.

He also admonished the congregation not to be discouraged by the teachings of other Christian denominations that argue that praying for the dead is a waste of spiritual time, saying that if God chooses to purge the dead of their sins because of the prayers of their living ones, nobody can stop him after all, people are saved or redeemed according to their faith or belief.

On a note of gratitude to all who came to mourn with the Diocese, Bishop Godfrey Onah remarked that during the 2014 Maundy Thursday, having celebrated the chrism Mass, blessed the holy Oils and performed other such duties of a Bishop, he thought he had done everything a Bishop does forgetting he had never buried any of his Priests.

"Today, for the first time as a bishop, I am burying one of my sons. It is a painful experience but our faith in the resurrection makes us thank God even for that experience. And I also thank God for Fr. Nweze for the legacy he left for us", he submitted.

The number one Catholic in the diocese bemoaned the rate at which some catholic Priests are deviating from the core value of the holy priesthood and embracing materialism in the recent time. According to him, there was a time Priests were all scholars and wanted to leave legacies by writing. At that time, he recounted that newly ordained Priests usually launched their books at their first Masses but, "today, our values are changing. Priests now compete with lay people and Pentecostal Pastors for acquisition of material wealth, owning property everywhere in town" and engaging in all sorts of money yielding ventures. He reminded them that none of such ventures would stand as a legacy upon which they would be remembered for when they are long gone to the great beyond.

Thus, he admonished the Priests to take a clue from late Fr. Nweze and the legacies he had left as the basic things that ideally should matter in the life of a Priest, highlighting some of the things the late priest will be remembered for to include: the Nsukka Catholic Diocesan Anthem, Anthems of some various Institutions of the Diocese and so on.

In clear terms, the Bishop explained that the Diocesan Priests are entitled by law to own personal property but not property acquired with the wealth of the church. He charged the Priests to let go of the excessive desire for material wealth so that they can enjoy the beauty of the priesthood.

Before his death, Fr. Nweze served in several Parishes across the Diocese some of which include: Holy Family Parish, Okpatu; St.Martin De Porres Parish, Obollo Eke; Holy Cross Parish, Umulokpa; St Victor's Parish, Omuiyi, to mention a few. The 69 year old Priest and poet would be remembered for his numerous intellectual works which include; the St. Teresa's College Nsukka's Anthem, St. Patrick's College Obollo Eke's Anthem, Nsukka diocesan Anthem and other poetic compositions he authored.

Late Fr. Nweze who was born in 1948 hailed from Nkalagu Obukpa in Igboeze South Local Government Area of Enugu State and was ordained a Priest on Saturday, July 11, 1981 by His Lordship Most Rev. Dr. Michael Ugwuja Eneje after he could not be ordained at the same time with his set because of ill health.

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