The former Administrator of Corpus Christi Cathedral, Port Harcourt, Rev. Fr. Bartholomew O. Uzoma, on Sunday, February 10, 2019 celebrated a farewell Mass at the Cathedral having served there for eight years.
He called on parishioners to support the new Administrator, Rev. Fr. Paul Okeregwu for the well-being of the parish.
Fr. Uzoma who served at the Cathedral from December 16, 2010 to January 2, 2019, appreciated the Parish Pastoral, Finance and Laity Councils, CMO, CWO, CYON and all the Societies and Groups in the parish for their support and dedication to the work of God.
He thanked God for calling him to the priesthood and the Diocesan Bishop, Most Rev. Camillus A. Etokudoh for the privilege given him to spend eight out of his 13 years of priesthood as an Administrator at the Cathedral.
Fr. Uzoma listed some challenges he faced in the parish during his tenure which include Church expansion, the gallery, CWO crisis, purchase of land and building of Church of the Transfiguration which is now a Quasi Parish and the outstation, Church of the Immaculate Conception, Chapel, indecent dressing among others.
“I live to appreciate you. Thanks for your prayers and support. I wouldn’t have done anything if you were not there by my side”, he said.
He called on the parishioners to support them priests for the success of the parish. “Support him for the progress of the parish”.
The out-gone priest appreciated Fr. Okeregwu for organizing the send forth and asked the parishioners to forgive him in any way he might have wrong them during his stay in the parish. “Anything that has a beginning also has an end”, he said.
Fr. Okeregwu observed that the Cathedral is a unique family and thanked the parishioners for showing Fr. Uzoma love and prayed God to continue to bless and protect him even as he travels for further studies.
Chairman of the occasion and pioneer Vice Chairman, Parish Pastoral Council, Hon. Justice P.N.C. Agumagu commended Fr. Uzoma for the transformation he brought to the Cathedral and for taking the Cathedral to a greater height. “You have done your bit and we appreciate your effort”, he said.
Justice Agumagu assured Fr. Okeregwu of their support. “Both of you can’t wear the same size of shoes but you should complement each other”.
In an address presented by the Vice Chairman, Parish Pastoral Council, Sir Tupere Bruno commended parishioners for attending the send forth of Fr. Uzoma who in their view bestrode the environment like a tangential colossus, walked the sands of time with innate capacity to turn illusions into reality, dreams to questions and wishes to fruition.
He explained that Fr. Uzoma’s unusual successes in the eight years as an administrator are evident for all to see. “Our own version of Mr. Projects embarked upon and completed several high note projects”.
Sir Tupere listed the following projects handled by the out-gone priest: completion and installation of the Stations of the Cross, completion of the Administrative Block/Staff Quarters started by Fr. Normakoh, the renovation of the Parish Hall, construction of the Public toilets, building of new wardrobes in the sacristy, erection of 15,000 litres diesel tanks, building of a security post at the back gate of the Church, security house for the Administrative block and establishment of Parish Clinic and Laboratory.
Others successes were the renovation of Cathedral Church which included the extension of the gallery and expansion of the East wing, equipping a fully functional media outfit, purchase of a 350KVA generator set, support for the building of the palatial new Bishop’s House.
Also achieved during his administration were purchase of land and building of Church of the Transfiguration, Rumkalagbor together with sand filling and construction of the access road, Construction and furnishing of Father’s House, purchase of 141/2 plots of land off Tombia road in GRA Phase-3 together with the partial sand filling and building of a temporal Church for Church of the Immaculate Conception and the building of a chapel (Divine Mercy Chapel of Adoration) for private devotion.
Sir Tupere stressed that the aforementioned successes does not include the random details of tireless crisscrossing from point to point to meet up and keep up with his duties, charitable acts for less privileged parishioners, welfare and sundry acts of administrative ingenuity including editorship of the Catholic Link Newspaper. “He would have loved to construct a befitting fence and gate house for the Cathedral but for the exigencies of further work in the faith”, he said.
He commended his steadfastness, commitment, multi-tasking capacity and man management skills and wished him God’s grace and blessings in his future endeavours.
It would be recalled that the Cathedral from inception has had the following; Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Kabari (October 1991 – February 2001), Rev. Fr. Noel Nalelo (February 2001 – August 2006), Rev. Fr. Francis Normakoh (September 2006 – December 2010) and Rev. Fr. Bartholomew Uzoma (December 16,