, 09 September, 2020 / 8:02 PM
The Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Onitsha Archdiocese, Archbishop Valerian Okeke on Tuesday, September 8 blessed and handed over a house he helped build and furnish for a physically challenged girl in his ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
Speaking during the blessing and handing over ceremony, Archbishop Okeke said that the house was part of the “church’s commitment towards charity and the need to uplift the burden faced by people especially in this pandemic.”
The plight of the girl identified as Adaoma Aniwetalu, he said, was brought to his attention by a religious nun. He then reached out to some well-wishers for financial support.
In a September 8 post on his Facebook page, the Nigerian Prelate said that the blessing and handing over of the house was in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose birthday (Feast of the Nativity) was marked on the same day.
“I pray to God to come and take possession of this new house of our daughter. May this be a house of blessing, a house of grace and a house of peace,” Archbishop Okeke implored, adding in reference to Adaoma Aniwetalu, “May she live here till when God will do for her more miraculous things in the future, through Christ our Lord.”
“Seeing her ability in her disability, being able to write and perform tasks with her toes, I resolved to help her achieve her life’s goals,” the 66-year-old Prelate has been quoted as saying during the handing over ceremony.
He announced a scholarship offer for the Nigerian girl saying, “She is placed on a fully-paid scholarship together with her friend (her helper).”
“May God always guide and protect her,” the Archbishop further implored.
Archbishop Okeke’s intervention has been lauded with various Facebook posts describing the action, as a gesture of kindness and generosity.
“In line with your episcopal motto: you kept giving life in abundance to all who come close to you. This is great,” Cosmas Mmaduekwe says in his Facebook post.
Emilia Aboekwe posted, “It's marvelous and gracious in our eyes. You did not just give Adaoma a home, you changed everything about her for better.”
For Chigozie Edmund Chukwudebelu, the Archbishop’s charitable act is not surprising as he has known him to be generous. “His second name is generosity,” he says of the Nigerian Prelate.
“Thank you, Your Grace, for your continuous show of love to all around you. You are the good shepherd always looking out for your flock,” HIfy Ijomah posted and implored, “May God continue to shower his blessings upon you and keep you in good health of body and mind.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa