The Auxiliary Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese, Most Rev. Patrick Eluke has dedicated Queen of Apostles’ Catholic Church, Rumuepirikom to God. The event was recently held on Sunday, November 3, 2019, during which, the Bishop blessed the chapel, Parish hall, grotto of Our Lady of Fatima, and confirmed 419 candidates.
Bishop Eluke, who was the pioneer Parish Priest, witnessed the Church foundation laying ceremony performed by the late Bishop A. O. Makozi in 2008, expressed joy to God for the privilege to dedicate a Church he started.
In his homily, the Bishop called on Christians to acknowledge their sinfulness and change for better, move from their usual position to where they would encounter Jesus by a total surrendering of self to Him.
He explained that the Church is a house of prayer, praise, worship, blessing and preaching. A sacred place to celebrate the Holy Mass and sacraments, a place where extraordinary things happen, babies turn into children of God, bread and wine changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, couples into families, sinners to saints and the lost are found and saved.
Bishop Eluke enjoined the faithful to pray without season, especially in the Church dedicated to God. “God is with His people”, he said.
The Bishop appreciated the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Raphael Kpeden and his parishioners for their efforts and challenged them to plant a new outstation since the Church would no longer undergo renovation without a written permission from the Diocesan Bishop. “Endeavour to celebrate the dedication of this Church every 3rd November”, he encouraged them.
In his speech, the Parish Priest, Fr. Kpeden appreciated Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Orlu-Orlu who planted the Church, Rev. Fr. Donatus Okulor who nurtured it as an outstation of Immaculate Heart Parish, Mile 3, Diobu, Port Harcourt, the pioneer Parish Priest now, Bishop Eluke and the immediate past Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Livinus Nagbi for their works in the parish.
He later presented awards to them on behalf of the parish and prayed God to reward them bountifully.
An address presented by the Vice Chairman, Parish Pastoral Council, Mr. Virginus Bakel noted that the parish started on a marshy piece of land with virtually no access road.
He recalled that the former priests defied difficult terrain to ensure the Church was planted. “Through faith and hardwork stands this magnificent house of God dedicated today”, he said.
Mr. Bakel observed that the parish is one of the fastest growing parishes in the Diocese. “We cannot claim to have worked harder than anyone else, this speed can only be expressed in the motherly love of Mama Maria who owns this palace”.
The parish history captured that Fr. Orlu-Orlu, the then Parish Priest of Immaculate Heart Parish, Mile III, Diobu, celebrated the inaugural Mass on Sunday, March 5, 2000 and named the then outstation: “Queen of Apostles”, which was a welcome development, especially to those residents at Rumuepirikom axis.
Present at the event were the Dean of Rumuepirikom Deanery, Very Rev. Msgr. Festus Okafor, Dean of Oro-Igwe Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Orlu-Orlu, Rector, St. Joseph’s Major Seminary, Ikot Ekpene, Very Rev. Msgr. Emmanuel Maru, Vicar for the Clergy, Rev. Fr. Donatus Ukulor, Rev. Frs. Clement Dekoo, Polycarp Nwidam, Michael Akere, Anthony Baakel, Lawrence Nwile, Daniel Sor, Sunday Sunebari, Leo Meenyinikor, Ikokwu Onwuchekwa, Christopher Essien, Collins Ndukwu, Pius Aanaa, Victor Nwaeke, Joseph Visa, Martin Amadi, Martin Egonu, John Dukue, among others.