AN ADDRESS TO THE ONITSHA STAKEHOLDERS’ FORUM, PHASE II BY HIS GRACE, MOST REV. VALERIAN MADUKA OKEKE ARCHBISHOP OF ONITSHA @ THE SHANAHAN HALL, BASILICA OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY, ONITSHA
In the Name of God Almighty, and in the name of the Archdiocese of Onitsha, and Metropolitan See of the Ecclesiastical Province of Onitsha, I express my warm and hearty greetings to all of you.
On behalf of the priests, consecrated men and women, Christ’s lay faithful of Onitsha Archdiocese, and on behalf of the friends, benefactors and lovers of the great Archdiocese of Onitsha, I joyfully welcome you to Onitsha – the gateway to the Igbo Nation. Welcome to the Cathedral Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, the first and only Basilica in Nigeria. Welcome to the Ecclesiastical home of Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi – the first Blessed in the West Africa. Welcome to the home of Francis Cardinal Arinze – the highest ranking African Prelate in the Catholic Church. Welcome to the home of Bishop Shanahan – the great educationist, who brought the Western Civilization, literacy and Gospel Message to the Eastern Nigeria, and the Middle Belt more than anybody alive or dead.
May your visit today be blessed, may it attract an abundance of God’s favours on you, your families and your worthy endeavours.
This forum is created basically to say thank you to each and every one of you. Thank you for the way your lives and activities have impacted positively on the Church and the Nation. Thank you for your interest in promoting the common good, for your option for the poor, for your attention to the less privileged, for uplifting the downtrodden, and for being the voice of the voiceless in our society. May God be gracious to you. Given that the ultimate gratitude comes from God, we want to appreciate you today, encourage you in your good works and assure you of our prayers. May God the most loving Father reward your good works here and hereafter. May He keep you in His love, and may your prayers be answered.
We thank you particularly for the various ways you have supported the Church, especially the apostolate in this Archdiocese of Onitsha. Much as we welcome donations today, we want to assure you that even if you have nothing to donate, you should not feel bad. The primary reason for inviting you today is to thank you for the work you have already done in the past. Once again, thanks for your honoured presence.
It may interest you to know that with your prayerful support and encouragement, Onitsha Archdiocese is moving on. It has continued to make great strides spiritually, socially and structurally. You may like to know that the Bethany House can now favourably compete with any five-star hotel around. The intention is to provide you with a peaceful environment where your loved ones can stay, especially during festivities like Christmas. Also, when your families visit from Overseas, they have good accommodation with spiritual atmosphere, overlooking the Niger and enjoying the Sea.
Meanwhile, you can see for yourselves that this Shanahan Hall is the best of its kind in the State. There is no better, more comfortable and classy hall around than the Shanahan Hall. Indeed, it has a touch of class. We have tried to bring it to this level because we know you need it, and you deserve the best. Permit me to leave other developmental projects of the Archdiocese and go straight to the Holy Family Youth Village Hostels, Amansea, Awka, since it concerns our youth, therefore our future.
The first phase of the Youth Village project is now completed. It is no more a dream or an idea, but a reality. We have gone to the second phase, and work is progressing. The intention, as you know, is to provide our youth with a befitting environment, to optimize their intellectual potential, maximize their productivity, develop the best human virtues and moral strength, so that they can impact positive changes to our already decaying and crumbling society. Since the youth is our hope for a better tomorrow, we want to equip them with the best formation, by providing the enabling environment for the maximum development of their spiritual, academic and moral potentialities.
You may like to know that in the Youth Village, the basic and essential amenities are in steady supply. There, we have light, water, security, internet facilities, good food, air conditioned bus shuttle to the school, and of course, a graceful chapel for their spiritual nourishment. The Youth Village is better seen than described. Our prayer is that God will grant his blessings to those who work on the site, and particularly to those who contribute to this project in one way or the other. We also pray that this project may become a blessing for our families, friends and communities in which we live and work. Above all, may this project help us to produce a better generation of Anambrarians and Nigerians at large. Amen.
Welcome and God bless you!
Given this day, the 27th of November, 2010
@ The Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity
Onitsha – Nigeria.
MOST REV. VALERIAN MADUKA OKEKE
Archbishop of Onitsha.