It was a day of thanksgiving to God for the gift of life, grace, and divine calling, as Most Reverend Dr Valerian Okeke, the Archbishop of Onitsha Catholic Archdiocese in celebrating forty years of his priestly ordination.
Archbishop Valerian Okeke was ordained a Catholic Priest on July 11, 1981, by the then Archbishop of Onitsha, His Eminence, Cardinal Francis Arinze.
Valentine Ozigbo, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the November election in Anambra State, was one of the dignitaries who joined His Lordship at the special celebration.
Indeed, God’s blessings of this magnitude calls for unending celebration, and the good people of Umudioka and the entire Onitsha Archdiocese trooped out today, Sunday, July 11, 2021, to celebrate the Lord’s anointing and divine sustenance on their chief shepherd.
The event began with a Holy Mass led by the celebrant at his home parish, St Anthony’s Parish, Umudioka, in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State.
During the mass of thanksgiving, His Grace, the Archibishop expressed gratitude to God for “the grace and unworthy privilege to be called unto the holy fraternity of the Catholic priesthood”. He recalled the events of his childhood, his enthusiasm to serve God, and his eventful ordination that has lasted for forty blessed years.
While speaking during the event, Valentine Ozigbo, the immediate Past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, congratulated Archbishop Okeke on attaining such an enviable number of years in the Lord’s vineyard.
The respected business leader described the celebrant as “a humble shepherd” who has put in tremendous efforts in pasturing the flock of Christ in the Onitsha Archdiocese and beyond.
“I have known His Grace for a long time, and I consider myself privileged to be called his friend. Everyone that knows him can attest to his unique style of compassionate service and leadership,” Ozigbo said.
“I am here today to celebrate not just the 40th anniversary of His Grace, but also the awesomeness of God in his gift to humanity.
“God, in His infinite wisdom and mercies, sends some specially gifted persons to this world to bear true testimony of his amazing grace. One of such persons is his humble servant we are privileged to celebrate today.
“My Grace, today you celebrate forty years as a priest of the Most HighGod. You have demonstrated an unflinching steadfastness to your calling while drawing souls to Christ through your sermons, particularly through your simple daily living.
“Having served God dutifully in these forty years, I pray that God grants you more years to come and strengthens you as you continue to serve in his vineyard.
“May He renew your grace of ordination and keep you eternally committed to the service of God and humanity,” Ozigbo prayed.
A multiple-award-winning global CEO, Valentine Ozigbo, a lifelong member of the Roman Catholic Church, chaired Unusual Praise 2018, the largest Catholic gospel concert in Africa. He currently chairs Unusual Entrepreneur, one of the most impactful faith-based entrepreneurship programmes in Nigeria.
Other dignitaries at the event were Mr Obinna Ufudo, a former President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, a close friend of Ozigbo, Rev Fr Emmanuel Obimma (Ebube Muonso), the founder of the Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, Uke, Anambra State, and Chief Victor Umeh, a former national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.