History of St. Edward Catholic Church

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1. Early Foundation 
Following the growth of Catholic Church in Amawbia , the mother Parish St. Mathew’s Catholic Church was growing from strength. By the year 1996, the then Parish Priest Very Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Otiaba introduced what he called “Village Masses” to bring Christ to the grassroots and to enable the aged to attend masses at least once a weak.

The problem of where Adabebe “village mass” will be stationed became a problem. Madam Margret Nwofor, Late Lady Kate Nworah & Late Sir a .C.U. , Nworah met Mr. C.N.C. Jideofor with his philanthropic willingly offered his compound without any attachment.

Ii . Village Masses Arrangement 
The then Parish Priest Very Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Otiaba drew his weekly masses timetable for villages as follows:

i . Umueze Zone 1 Monday Udala Nwonu
ii . Ngene Zone 2 uesday Ngene Hall
iii .Adabebe Zone 3 Wednesday C.N.C. Jideofor’s comp.
iv. Enuoji Zone 3 Thursday S. O. Odumodu’s comp.
v. Umukabia Zone 3 Friday Eziokpaligwe Sqr.
vi . Ezimezi Zone 3 Thursday T. C. Nnamah’s comp.
vii . St. Albert the Great Zone 4 Friday Parish Hall

This village Mass was a major grass-root movement for church development and evangelization. In the year 2004 the then Parish Priest, late Very Rev. Msgr. Dr. Philip N. Chinyelu abrogated the village mass because of lack of priests working in the parish, and re -introduced zonal mass, which was operational before the coming of Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Otiaba .

Venues for the zonal masses were as follows:
Zone Village Venue Zone i Umueze Udala Nwonu
Zone Ii Ngene Ngene Hall
Zone IIi Adabebe , Enuoji , Ezimezi
And Umukabia S. O. Odumodu’s Comp.
Zone IV St. Albert De Great Parish Hall

As a result of the new arrangement the then parish priest late Very Rev. Msgr. Dr. Philip N. Chinyelu deemed it fit to create more zones. At the parish council meeting of October 2004 , the parish priest late Msgr. P. N. Chinyelu said that it was important that one additional zone be created out of the existing zone IIi , which comprised, Adabebe , Enuoji , Ezimezi and Umukabia villages. Thus, Mr. Ikechukwu Nwugwa was mandated to liaise with Adabebe Catholic faithful to find out the possibility of creating a zone from the existing Zone IIi .

On 2nd Nov. 2004 , a meeting of Adabebe Catholic Community was convened at the residence of Mr. Ikechukwu Nwugwa , to ascertain the possibility of creating a new zone . Those in attendance at the meeting were , Ikechukwu Nwugwa , Late Alex Onuorah, Osita Okongwu, Pius Jidobi , Nnonyelu Mike Nnamah, Edward Nwoye , Ben Okonkwo and Dr. a . B. C. Nworah for C.M.O. , Mrs. Margret Nwofor, Josephine Okonkwo, Magdalene Okoye , Susan Udeozor Jnr, Agnes Nwogbo, Agnes Nwoye , Florence Nwoye , Grace Jidobi , Eunice Nwugwa , Late Lady Kate Nworah, late Elizabeth Onuorah for C.W.O.

The meeting unanimously agreed that Adabebe should be a zone of its own, as Zone V. The zone was named St. James as the patron Saint in remembrance of late Mr. James Onuorah who helped in the propagation of Catholic faith in our area . This decision was taken to the parish council by Mr. Ikechukwu Nwugwa .

In the parish council meeting of Nov. 2004 the then parish priest Late Msgr. P. N. Chinyelu created zone 5 to be functional from 1st Jan. 2005. Mr. Pius Jidobi was elected the Chairman of the Zone , Louis Nwosu, Vice Chairman, Innocent Jidobi Secretary , while Mrs. Josephine Okonkwo took charge of C.W.O.

Creation of New Out Station 
At the parish council meeting of Feb. 2005, Mr. Ikechukwu Nwugwa again moved a motion that it was important that an out station should be carved out from St. Matthew’s Parish, to enable people living around Ugwutank area to attend masses very close to their houses, since some of them were attending masses out side the parish without knowing what was happening in their parish. This motion was unanimously accepted by the parish council. Thereafter, at the parish council meeting, the then parish priest late Msgr. P. N. Chinyelu pronounced the creation of a new out station for the Catholic faithful around Enuoji , Adabebe and some parts of Umueze village .

First Out Station Mass, 14th April 2005
Following this development, Messrs Ik Nwugwa , Pius Jidobi , Late Lady Kate Nworah met Mr. C.N.C. Jideofor, for the possibility of giving us his Garri Processing Mill for this purpose , Mr. C.N.C. Jidofor willing offered the mill. Small work and clearing of the mill was done on Wednesday in preparation for the 1st out station mass on Sunday 14th April 2005.

On 14th April 2005, the first outstation mass was celebrated by the then parish priest, late Msgr. P. N. Chinyelu by 6am. About (35) persons were in attendance . In his homily on that day , late Dr. Msgr. P. N. Chinyelu, said that a seed of spiritual development has been sown in Adabebe and its environ, he called on the faithful to continue pouring water for this seed to grow into an Iroko tree .

Administration of the Out Station 
At that time , Mr. Ikechukwu Nwugwa was appointed by the parish council as the coordinator (i .e . ) acting Catechist, of the out station, while Mr. Pius Jidobi , late Paul Chuka Ojukwu, Mr. Philip Nwanza , Mrs. Virginia Nwanza , Nze Louis Nwosu, Mrs. Josephine Okonkwo were appointed as out station committee members.

Out Station Development 
As the station was growing, the existing building could no longer accommodate the faithful. The committee reasoned that the building should be extended and the roof jacked up to accommodate the faithful during masses. The station was faced with the problem of finance for the extension of the building, and the provision of seats and alter rail. All these problems were carried to the faithful for donations.

Some of the Donors include :

  1. Ozo Louis Nwosu- Zinc/Materials worth – N45,000.00
    Arc. Chiedu Udeozor – Altar rail and Blessed Virgin Mary Statue
    Mr. Joe Ojukwu – N10,000.00
    Mrs. M. M. Odilatu Crucifix/Plant N10,000.00
    Mrs. Magdalene Okoye Public Address System
    Rtn. Vincent Odoh 2 Bundles of Zinc
    Late Sir Ben Okonkwo & Family – 5 seats
    Ben Okonkwo & Family – 10 seats
    Late Lady Kate Nworah/Family – N5,000.00
    Engr. Okey Odumodu – N5,000.00
    Esther Onuorah N5,000.00/Plastic Seats
    Dr. a .B. C. Nworah N5,000.00
    Engr. Chuks Udeozor N5,000.00
    Mr. C. N. C. Jideofor N2,000.00
    Mr/Mrs. Tony Okonkwo N5,000.00
    Late Dr. Albert Nworah – N5,000.00
    Mr. Ikechukwu Nwugwa – N2,000.00
    Mr. Pius Jidobi – N2,000/Musical Instruments and so many other donations.
    These materials facilitated the structure of the out station.

Land for the Permanent Site of the Out Station 
The following persons, Joe Ojukwu, Ikechukwu Nwugwa & Pius Jideobi were appointed by Late Msgr. P. N. Chinyelu to look for a permanent site for the out station. This led them to late Josiah Nwokike ’s house , to negotiate for Umuzoegbo family land beside Central School Compound Amawbia . The search lingered on till the death of Msgr. P. N. Chinyelu on 8th January 2007.

After the death of Msgr. P. N. Chinyelu the parish priest in the person of Rev. Fr. Dr. Jonas Benson Okoye who took over the administration of the parish, led the committee once again to Josiah Nwokike ’s house but the efforts were in vain.

Acquisition of the out Station Site By the special grace of God, a place of worship was procured on the 26th day of December 2008. Sir Joe Ojukwu took a letter from the parish priest to Enuoji village in which the parish council requested that Ngene -Orji Shrine be given or sold to the parish for church development. The Enuoji village meeting, after reading the letter and listening to the address made by Sir Joe Ojukwu, together with some lobbying by Dr. Ikem Odumodu, Sir R. N. Igwedibe , Mr. Jonah Igwedibe , Mr. Sam Odumodu, Mr. Felix Igwedibe , Mr. Philip Nwanza , Mr. John Ojukwu and late Mr. Paul Chuka Ojukwu, unanimously agreed to sell the land to St. Mathew’s Catholic Church Amawbia for church development. The land deal was amicably concluded to the satisfaction of both parties.

Surrounding Lands Donations
The following families donated their lands freely to the church, for further expansion of the acquired land. The families are : Officha ’s family , Nwugwa ’s family , Ojukwu’s family . After this, Mr. Paul Ojukwu donated a two room building to serve as store for the parking of cement and other building materials.

Land Exchange Mr. Paul Nwabueze ’s family land was exchanged with land donated by Late Mr. Gabriel Ojukwu’s family . Mr. Daniel Nwokike ’s family land was exchanged with land donated by Sir Joe Ojukwu. Mr. Ekwunife Onuorah’s family land was also exchanged with land donated by Sir Joe Ojukwu’s family for the expansion of the acquired land.

As it pleased the Almighty God, on February 2009 the parish priest Rev. Fr. Jonas Benson Okoye assisted by Rev. Fr. Bonaventure Okoye and Rev. Fr. Francis Obi Okoye led St. Mathew’s Parish faithful, especially those worshipping at the out station to take possession of the (Ngene -Orji Shrine ) land with a Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit. After the solemn celebration, the entire congregation led by the parish priest, joyfully entered the thick forest cleared and cut the huge trees. Before evening all the trees had been felled and cut into pieces, and the whole forest cleared for the erection of the new parish.

Land Fencing and Fathers House Through the effort of our amiable and indefatigable parish priest, Rev. Fr. Dr. Jonas Benson Okoye , the new station grew from strength to strength. Consequently Engr. Edward Dijeh was inspired to fence the land, built the father’s house and boys quarters single handedly . Mrs. Monica Okonkwo, served as the site manager from the time of clearing the site , till the completion of the father’s house and boys quarters. Arch. Maurice Office , did the architectural drawing and supervised the building construction free of charge .

The Creation of St. Edward’s Parish Amawbia On the occasion of the dedication of St. Mathew’s Catholic Church Amawbia on Sunday 22nd August, 2010, the then Apostolic Administrator of Awka Diocese , Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Ezeokafor, announced the creation of ST. EDWARD’S PARISH in Amawbia Town. The announcement was received with great joy and thanksgiving to God by the Amawbia Catholic Community .

It is important to note than, the new parish was given the name Saint Edward, in honour of the Patron Saint of Engr. Eddie Dijeh. We shall continue to thank God for the wonderful work he has used Engr. Dijeh and his family in the Catholic Church, especially in our town Amawbia .

Appointment of the Local Church Council
To facilitate the smooth take off of the newly created parish, the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Dr. Jonas Benson Okoye , appointed the following as members of St. Edward’s Local Church Council.
Mr. C.N.C Jideofor – Vice Chairman
Mrs. Magdalene Okoye – Secretary Mr. Pius Jidobi – CMO Leader Zone 3
Mrs. Justina Odumodu – CWO Leader
Mr. John Jidofor – CMO Leader Zone 1
Mrs. Ngozi Nworah – CWO Leader Zone 1
Mr. Philip Nwanza – CMO Leader Zone 2
Mrs. Grace Nwankwo – CWO Leader Zone 2
Mrs. Josephine Okonkwo – CWO Leader Zone 3
Sir Joe Ojukwu – Ex-officio Member

Handover of Father’s House To the glory of God, the new father’s house was handed over to His Lordship Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Ezeokafor, the then Apostolic Administrator of Awka Diocese on 2nd October 2010 by Engr. Edward Dijeh and family , who financed the project single handedly . Glory be to God on high and on earth peace to men who are God’s friends.

With the arrival of the new parish priest, Rev. Fr. Dr. Joel Okechukwu, the parish status began to bear more fruits. The parish has also two priests-in-residence in addition to the parish priest, namely , Rev. Fr. Dr. Peter Okpalaeke (Chancellor of the Diocese ), and Rev. Fr. Justin Ekene Nwafor, the Assistant Financial Administrator, both work at the Cathedral. The parish started having daily masses and two masses on Sundays, at 6.00am and 9.00am. The first couple to be wedded at St. Edward’s parish was Mrs. /Mrs. Innocent Nwokolo on 20th Nov. 2010. From then the Parish life took off in full. There was first harvest and bazaar on Sunday No. 14 2010 as well as final harvest and bazaar for abroad members on Sunday Dec. 12th 2010, and co-ordinated by the harvest and bazaar committee . From the month of Feb 2011 the parish social and administrative structure started taking shape with the election into offices in the four zones, the statutory bodies (CMO, CWO, Youth, Mary League , the Laity ) as well as other pious societies and the parish and the parish pastoral council in April, 2011.

The construction of the parish hall and parish church spear headed by Engr. Dijeh, kept the parish alive as a point of attraction to all around. With the generous fund made available by the Engineer, the parish hall, an underground edifice , was completed and packed into to serve as temporary church for the parish on Thursday 21st April, 2011.

The first funeral mass in honour of late Mrs. Florence Udeozor took place on 23rd July 2011 at the church. However, the work on the church building continued on the underground hall structure , through the help of Engr. Dijeh. The work has continued unstopped ably supervised by Architect Maurice Office , the parish priest, as well as Frs. Jonas Benson Okoye , Peter Okpalaeke and Justin Nwafor.

The parishioners prove to be very enthusiastic as they respond generously to the various sermons and responsibilities in the parish.

Compiled by the History , Protocol and Publicity Sub-Committee and Coordinated by the Parish Priest.

Some of the Donors include :

  1. Ozo Louis Nwosu- Zinc/Materials worth – N45,000.00
    Arc. Chiedu Udeozor – Altar rail and Blessed Virgin Mary Statue
    Mr. Joe Ojukwu – N10,000.00
    Mrs. M. M. Odilatu Crucifix/Plant N10,000.00
    Mrs. Magdalene Okoye Public Address System
    Rtn. Vincent Odoh 2 Bundles of Zinc
    Late Sir Ben Okonkwo & Family – 5 seats
    Ben Okonkwo & Family – 10 seats
    Late Lady Kate Nworah/Family – N5,000.00
    Engr. Okey Odumodu – N5,000.00
    Esther Onuorah N5,000.00/Plastic Seats
    Dr. a .B. C. Nworah N5,000.00
    Engr. Chuks Udeozor N5,000.00
    Mr. C. N. C. Jideofor N2,000.00
    Mr/Mrs. Tony Okonkwo N5,000.00
    Late Dr. Albert Nworah – N5,000.00
    Mr. Ikechukwu Nwugwa – N2,000.00
    Mr. Pius Jidobi – N2,000/Musical Instruments and so many other donations.
    These materials facilitated the structure of the out station.

Land for the Permanent Site of the Out Station 
The following persons, Joe Ojukwu, Ikechukwu Nwugwa & Pius Jideobi were appointed by Late Msgr. P. N. Chinyelu to look for a permanent site for the out station. This led them to late Josiah Nwokike ’s house , to negotiate for Umuzoegbo family land beside Central School Compound Amawbia . The search lingered on till the death of Msgr. P. N. Chinyelu on 8th January 2007.

After the death of Msgr. P. N. Chinyelu the parish priest in the person of Rev. Fr. Dr. Jonas Benson Okoye who took over the administration of the parish, led the committee once again to Josiah Nwokike ’s house but the efforts were in vain.

Acquisition of the out Station Site By the special grace of God, a place of worship was procured on the 26th day of December 2008. Sir Joe Ojukwu took a letter from the parish priest to Enuoji village in which the parish council requested that Ngene -Orji Shrine be given or sold to the parish for church development. The Enuoji village meeting, after reading the letter and listening to the address made by Sir Joe Ojukwu, together with some lobbying by Dr. Ikem Odumodu, Sir R. N. Igwedibe , Mr. Jonah Igwedibe , Mr. Sam Odumodu, Mr. Felix Igwedibe , Mr. Philip Nwanza , Mr. John Ojukwu and late Mr. Paul Chuka Ojukwu, unanimously agreed to sell the land to St. Mathew’s Catholic Church Amawbia for church development. The land deal was amicably concluded to the satisfaction of both parties.

Surrounding Lands Donations
The following families donated their lands freely to the church, for further expansion of the acquired land. The families are : Officha ’s family , Nwugwa ’s family , Ojukwu’s family . After this, Mr. Paul Ojukwu donated a two room building to serve as store for the parking of cement and other building materials.

Land Exchange Mr. Paul Nwabueze ’s family land was exchanged with land donated by Late Mr. Gabriel Ojukwu’s family . Mr. Daniel Nwokike ’s family land was exchanged with land donated by Sir Joe Ojukwu. Mr. Ekwunife Onuorah’s family land was also exchanged with land donated by Sir Joe Ojukwu’s family for the expansion of the acquired land.

As it pleased the Almighty God, on February 2009 the parish priest Rev. Fr. Jonas Benson Okoye assisted by Rev. Fr. Bonaventure Okoye and Rev. Fr. Francis Obi Okoye led St. Mathew’s Parish faithful, especially those worshipping at the out station to take possession of the (Ngene -Orji Shrine ) land with a Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit. After the solemn celebration, the entire congregation led by the parish priest, joyfully entered the thick forest cleared and cut the huge trees. Before evening all the trees had been felled and cut into pieces, and the whole forest cleared for the erection of the new parish.

Land Fencing and Fathers House Through the effort of our amiable and indefatigable parish priest, Rev. Fr. Dr. Jonas Benson Okoye , the new station grew from strength to strength. Consequently Engr. Edward Dijeh was inspired to fence the land, built the father’s house and boys quarters single handedly . Mrs. Monica Okonkwo, served as the site manager from the time of clearing the site , till the completion of the father’s house and boys quarters. Arch. Maurice Office , did the architectural drawing and supervised the building construction free of charge .

The Creation of St. Edward’s Parish Amawbia On the occasion of the dedication of St. Mathew’s Catholic Church Amawbia on Sunday 22nd August, 2010, the then Apostolic Administrator of Awka Diocese , Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Ezeokafor, announced the creation of ST. EDWARD’S PARISH in Amawbia Town. The announcement was received with great joy and thanksgiving to God by the Amawbia Catholic Community .

It is important to note than, the new parish was given the name Saint Edward, in honour of the Patron Saint of Engr. Eddie Dijeh. We shall continue to thank God for the wonderful work he has used Engr. Dijeh and his family in the Catholic Church, especially in our town Amawbia .

Appointment of the Local Church Council
To facilitate the smooth take off of the newly created parish, the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Dr. Jonas Benson Okoye , appointed the following as members of St. Edward’s Local Church Council.
Mr. C.N.C Jideofor – Vice Chairman
Mrs. Magdalene Okoye – Secretary Mr. Pius Jidobi – CMO Leader Zone 3
Mrs. Justina Odumodu – CWO Leader
Mr. John Jidofor – CMO Leader Zone 1
Mrs. Ngozi Nworah – CWO Leader Zone 1
Mr. Philip Nwanza – CMO Leader Zone 2
Mrs. Grace Nwankwo – CWO Leader Zone 2
Mrs. Josephine Okonkwo – CWO Leader Zone 3
Sir Joe Ojukwu – Ex-officio Member

Handover of Father’s House To the glory of God, the new father’s house was handed over to His Lordship Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Ezeokafor, the then Apostolic Administrator of Awka Diocese on 2nd October 2010 by Engr. Edward Dijeh and family , who financed the project single handedly . Glory be to God on high and on earth peace to men who are God’s friends.

With the arrival of the new parish priest, Rev. Fr. Dr. Joel Okechukwu, the parish status began to bear more fruits. The parish has also two priests-in-residence in addition to the parish priest, namely , Rev. Fr. Dr. Peter Okpalaeke (Chancellor of the Diocese ), and Rev. Fr. Justin Ekene Nwafor, the Assistant Financial Administrator, both work at the Cathedral. The parish started having daily masses and two masses on Sundays, at 6.00am and 9.00am. The first couple to be wedded at St. Edward’s parish was Mrs. /Mrs. Innocent Nwokolo on 20th Nov. 2010. From then the Parish life took off in full. There was first harvest and bazaar on Sunday No. 14 2010 as well as final harvest and bazaar for abroad members on Sunday Dec. 12th 2010, and co-ordinated by the harvest and bazaar committee . From the month of Feb 2011 the parish social and administrative structure started taking shape with the election into offices in the four zones, the statutory bodies (CMO, CWO, Youth, Mary League , the Laity ) as well as other pious societies and the parish and the parish pastoral council in April, 2011.

The construction of the parish hall and parish church spear headed by Engr. Dijeh, kept the parish alive as a point of attraction to all around. With the generous fund made available by the Engineer, the parish hall, an underground edifice , was completed and packed into to serve as temporary church for the parish on Thursday 21st April, 2011.

The first funeral mass in honour of late Mrs. Florence Udeozor took place on 23rd July 2011 at the church. However, the work on the church building continued on the underground hall structure , through the help of Engr. Dijeh. The work has continued unstopped ably supervised by Architect Maurice Office , the parish priest, as well as Frs. Jonas Benson Okoye , Peter Okpalaeke and Justin Nwafor.

The parishioners prove to be very enthusiastic as they respond generously to the various sermons and responsibilities in the parish.

Compiled by the History , Protocol and Publicity Sub-Committee and Coordinated by the Parish Priest.

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