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Busy week for Bishop Oparah … As Diocese of Owerri celebrates 60th anniversary * Weeklong event ends today with thanksgiving

By Chukwudi Ikpe

The Imo State Specialist Hospital Owerri and the St. David’s Hospital were thrown into wild jubilation on Tuesday following the visit of the Anglican Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Chukwuma Oparah, Ph.D, JP, his wife, Mrs. Chidiebere Oparah (Mama Owerri), and their entourage to the hospital, and their entourage to the hospitals.
On arrival at the Specialist Hospital, the Bishop and his entourage were received by the Medical Director, Dr. Benard Uchenna Udujih, who conducted them round the hospital.
The Bishop explained that the purpose of the visit, which was part of the programmes lined up for the 60th anniversary celebration of the Diocese, was to fulfill the scriptural injunction  that we should take care of the sick and the needy.
The Bishop and his entourage, consisting of his wife, Mrs. Chidiebere Oparah, the Clergy and some prominent Anglicans, visited almost all the wards in the hospital, praying for the patients and extending financial assistance to them.
The wards visited include Casualty, Emergency Pediatric U (EPU), Female Ward, Female Surgical Ward, Male Ward, Male Surgical Ward, Children’s Ward. Maternity  Ward and Surgical Ward.
A total of 42 patients, including nursing mothers, received financial sucour from the Bishop and his wife.
Most of them could not hide their feelings as they gathered in clusters, either discussing happily or singing praises to God.
Speaking to Christian Voice, Mrs. Doris Okonkwo, who delivered a baby boy within the period of the visit, expressed gratitude to the Bishop as a blessing and prayed for God’s continued blessings on him.  Bishop Oparah had described the new born baby as a Diocesan anniversary baby and promised that the Diocese will always assist the child.
Also speaking to our reporter, another nursing mother, Mrs. Chinwendu Nwandikom, who gave birth to a set of twin boys two weeks ago, showered praises on the Bishop.
In an interview, the Medical Director, Dr. Udujih expressed happiness at the visit and noted that that was the first time such an August visitor would be coming to the hospital.  He prayed for more of such visits.
Dr. Udujih expressed optimism that the gesture will encourage the management and staff of the hospital, as well as the patients.
A staff of the hospital, Dr. Odom Uchechukwu, gave the vote of thanks to the Bishop and his team and prayed God to bless his episcopacy spiritually and otherwise.
He commended the Medical Director and appealed to the Bishop to convey the efforts of the Director to the state government.
Similarly, at St. David’s Hospital, Ikenegbu, the Bishop and his team were warmly received by the Chief Medical Director, Dr. Sir Davidson Anyanwu.
“We are here to visit our people who are here in the hospital for one reason or the other.  It is in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of our Diocese. We are all healthy and we want our people to be healthy, the Bishop told Dr. Anyanwu, thanking him for his health services to members of the Diocese.
Sir David expressed gratitude to the Bishop for coming and pointed out that all their services are to the glory of God.  He conducted the Bishop and his entourage round the hospital.
The Bishop also prayed for the patients and offered them financial aids.  A total of 12 patients, including nursing mothers were assisted financially.
Speaking to Christian Voice, two nursing mothers, Mrs. Uka Gift and Mrs. Chisom Ahauzo expressed happiness and thanked the Bishop for the gesture.
The highpoint of the visit to St. David’s Hospital was a very brief service moderated by the Bishop at the hospital chapel.
Taking his text for the only lesson from Psalm 103, Bishop Oparah thanked God for Sir David and his team and enjoined them to continue to have faith in God.
He commended them for the “very pious” chapel and stressed that space must be provided anywhere for God’s service because we are for the presence of God, so that he will always be with us.

Motherless babies benefit
In another development, the Anglican Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Chukwuma Oparah, Ph.D, JP, has assured inmates of motherless Babies Homes of God’s absolute parentage, protection and care.
He gave the assurance  when he paid a visit to the Red Cross Motherless Babies Home Owerri on Monday.
The visit was also part of the week long programmes lined up for the 60th Anniversary Celebration of the Diocese which commenced last Sunday.
Bishop Oparah, who was accompanied on the visit by his wife, Mrs. Chidiebere Oparah (Mama Owerri), Archdeacons and other prominent members of the Diocese assured the inmates of orphanage that God is the father of the fatherless and the mother of the motherless.
He commended the well organized and well coordinated management and staff of the orphanage for their efforts in taking good care of the children and prayed God to add more grease to their elbow.
Special prayers were offered by the Bishop and his entourage for the Home.
While Ven. Ogechi Ofurum, the Archdeacon of Aladinma prayed for the children, Ven. Ozioma Ejiekpe, the Archdeacon of Umunjam Mbieri, prayed for those taking care of them.
Receiving the visitors, the Manager of the orphanage, Mrs. Ogu Udoka, explained that the orphanage is owned and run by the Nigerian Red Cross Society as part of their humanitarian services.
She narrated their experiences in taking care of the children, some of which, she said, are in school, as well as their challenges.
According to Mrs. Ogu, who conducted the Bishop and his entourage round the orphanage, some of the children stay there until they become adult while some may be given out to foster parents, but not without the consent and permission of the authorities.
She equally responded appropriately to several question from the visitors with detailed explanations.
The management and staff of the orphanage as well as the children were visibly happy as they sang praises to God.
Bishop Oparah laid hands on the children and blessed them.
Several food items, including bag of rice, bags of salt, gallons of groundnut oil, cartons of  Indomie  noddles, cartons of beverages as well as cartons of detergent and toilet rolls were donated to the orphanage by the Bishop and his entourage in support of the upkeep of the inmates.
Meanwhile, the foundation stone of the new Owerri Diocesan Secretariat and the new St. Mark’s the Evangelist Chapel, Bishops court have been laid.
Performing the foundation laying ceremonies separately on Wednesday 24th July 2019, the Bishop, Rt. Rev. Chukwuma Oparah expressed optimism that the structures will be completed in due time.
The event which was witnessed by a host of members of the Clergy and the Laity from various areas across the Diocese were part of the programmes lined up for the 60th anniversary celebration of the Diocese which kicked off on Sunday.
Earlier in the praying and fasting service held at the St. Mark’s the Evangelist Chapel, the Bishop called for support towards Kingdom expansion, stressing that by giving to God, we are only being grateful.
The new secretariat building is located inside the Bishop’s court beside the old one while the new St. Marks the Evangelist Chapel is sited at the far end of the inner chamber of the Bishops court.

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