By John Akhimienmonan
In a very recent event, the parishioners of St Teresa, Ukoni, led by the Parish Priest and Assistant – Rev Frs Andrew Ogbenbe and Joshua Irebhude, gathered to celebrate and send-forth the immediate past Parish Priest, Very Rev. Fr Dr Joseph Ehimen, who was invited to the parish for this occasion. Also present at the Mass was Rev. Fr Patrick Ehizokhale and a few Female Religiou.
In his homily the Chief Celebrant, Rev. Fr Joshua Irhebhude centred on FORGIVENESS, the theme of the Gospel reading of the day – Luke 15:1-32. The story was that of the Prodigal Son. Fr Irhebhude urged the church to be humble before God and acknowledge and admit to our sinfulness whenever
we make mistakes, particularly when we offend God and neighbour. This is the lesson of the son in the narrative.
Another lesson drew from the merciful and forgiving attitude of the Father. And like him, the homilist urged all to learn to forgive the offences of those who sin against us. Fr Irhebude also eulogized Fr Ehimen and appreciated him for his efforts while he was still with the parish. He pointed out his homeliness to the parishioners and his spiritual programmes in the parish and many others for which the parish would be forever grateful.
In his speech after the Mass, Fr Ogbenbe also thanked Fr Ehimen for all the giant strides he achieved in the parish, which according to him was evident in the turn out of the parishioners. He then appreciated the parishioners for their presence and contribution in making the day a huge success.
There were dance, songs presented by the CWO in honour of Fr Ehimen and a variety of entertainment to spice up the occasion chaired by Mr Egualeona. There was the room for free speeches, wherein all who spoke conveyed the sentiments of the parishioners. Many testified of the good works of Fr Ehimen in their personal lives and those of all the communities and outstations of the parish and environ, particularly in helping them to abandon the practice of idolatry for the true God of Jesus Christ.
Gifts were showered on Fr Ehimen in appreciation for his person and accomplishment in the parish. In response, Fr Ehimen felt so humbled by the gesture of the people of Ukoni and appreciated them for doing him this great honour.