By Gloria Amadi
The Cardinal Archbishop of Abuja has lauded the unprecedented effort/admirable readiness of the Abuja faithful to build a befitting cathedral as a crowning of their effort in pushing forward the catholic mission in FCT.
His Eminence, John Cardinal Olorunfemi Onaiyekan made this remark on the occasion of the historic ground breaking ceremony of the long awaited multi-million naira Abuja Catholic Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles located at the Papa Ground, Karsana District, Kubwa Express Way, Abuja.
He used the occasion to immortalise the invaluable efforts of founding fathers of the Abuja Catholic family in the conceptualization and pioneering leadership in the building of the Cathedral.
“The strong and sincere moves made by the founding father in the faith and the pioneer Chief Shepherd of the Archdiocese, His Eminence, Dominic Cardinal Ekandem (of blessed memory) could be compared with the experience of King David in the Bible who attempted to build a house for the Lord but never succeeded simply because God had his own plan and time.”
Onaiyekan disclosed that Cardinal Ekandem pushed and promoted the idea of building a befitting Cathedral in the Federal Capital Territory even though at that time the territory had very little on ground as it was still a mission described as ecclesiastical jurisdiction emanating from independent mission.
Cardinal Onaiyekan prayed for the souls of both the patriarch, Ekandem and Very Rev. Fr. Willy Ojukwu (of blessed memory) to receive eternal rest.
The Archbishop also stated that catholic mission in FCT has witnessed astronomical growth in number, faith and spirit since its inception in the last thirty years because of the huge sacrifices of the Clergy, Religious and Laity and prayed for them and for the blessing of those present at the ground breaking ceremony.
While commending the various contributions and donations of the faithful in Abuja in spite of hash economic realities, the Cardinal noted that, in view of the rapid growth that characterise the FCT, there serious challenges abound in catching up with the needs of new pastoral and social structures.
To this end, he promised that irrespective of the cost, the dreamed cathedral shall be actualized because God will bring it to completion not minding the economic recession but undeniably hoping on God to make up for any poverty and limitation.
The cleric acknowledged that the Cathedral is God’s project and not human mansion for any material purpose.
“This is a project of faith and not a human mansion for any material gain. It is a house of God, and we hope and pray that the faithful will be encouraged to remain devoted to God because with him everything is possible.
Commending the faithful for their wonderful contributions, Onaiyekan said; “You have already contributed a great deal to this project which has given us the encouragement to start building this Cathedral. Your effort is like the little drops that make a mighty ocean. May God bless you all and bless our nation Nigeria,” the Cardinal prayed.
The prelate reaffirmed that the Archdiocese will continue to be built not only in structure but also in faith and witness to the gospel of Christ; a charity to the needy of any kind in our Cathedral will be a sign of spiritual grandeur.
He declared that the Cathedral will make our community stand out as light among darkness; the Cathedral he reiterated will push the faithful to ever greater love and solidarity with our fellow men and women.
Thanking all those who worked hard to actualize this great dream, he blessed the nation and assured Nigerians that all will be peaceful and prosperous for all God’s children.
The Chairman of the Cathedral project, Chief (Dr) Austin Okafor also thanked the members of the Archdiocese and all the friends of the Church from within and without for their efforts to put into actualization the two decades’ old enviable dream.