History of the Chaplaincy

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ST MULUMBA CATHOLIC CHAPLAINCY PART ONE
BY
Godwin N. Okoli, fNLA, CLN
Deputy University Librarian (rtd)
CHAPLAINCY HISTORIAN

  1. Pre-War Era

 

The founding fathers of the Nigerian College of Arts Science and Technology decided on three branches: Zaria, Ibadan and Enugu. The Enugu Branch, established in 1955, was physically located in the area now known as Enugu Campus of University of Nigeria. The population of the College increased as the College was transformed into a campus of University of Nigeria in 1962. The community had initially to attend the Holy Mass on Sundays in the town. Not much is known about the arrangement for worship on campus by Catholic men and women at the very early stages in the 1950s.
However, the spiritual needs of the Catholic Community in the new university campus received the immediate attention of the Bishop of Enugu, Most Rev. Fr. Dr. John Cross Anyogu. In 1965 Rev. Fr. Brendan Russel, who was lecturing in Mathematics, was appointed die first chaplain. A year later he v/as succeeded by Rev. Fi. Umanah. Both priests tried very hard to create a worshiping Catholic Community. The Nigerian civil war disrupted everything and fresh efforts had to await the return of peace.

  1. Immediate Post-War Period

Peace returned in 1970. Within a decade, five priests were sent to the campus by the then Local ordinary, Most Rev Dr. Godfrey Mary Paul Okoye. The priests were assisted by resident student priests, Rev. Sisters and seminarians. Thus in 1970, Rev. Fr. Dr. Johnson Ojiako was appointed a chaplain. He served for two years giving hope and spiritual peace to a community recently traumatized by war. In 1971 he was succeeded by Rev. Fr. Dr. Aaron Ekwu of blessed memory. By dint of hard work, through family visits, amiable and friendly relationship with members of the community, (young and old; big or small): Fr. Ekwu quickly welded this community into a united, caring and worshipping family. His smiles and friendly dispositions were great assets. More importantly, the community had regular Sunday Masses and Fr. Ekwu regularly brought along seminarians who assisted at mass and performed other functions in the chaplaincy.

From 1977 up to 1986, Opus Dei priests - Rev. Fr. Dr. Robert L Yoest, Rev. Fr. Dr. J.V. Poll and Rev. Fr. Dr. Phillip Griffin served this chaplaincy with great dedication, administering the sacraments and performing other religious duties. They would sit patiently at the end of flight of steps on the last floor of Block B building in the present "Lagos area" hearing confessions: evening to night. Fr. Yoest used his pleasant public relations to advantage. He picked a smattering of Igbo language and called everyone, including children, by name. The chaplaincy was gradually but steadily growing. While theOpus Dei priests were still around, the Bishop of Enugu, Rt. Rev. Dr. Michael Ugwuja Eneja, posted Rev. Fr. Dr. Thaddeus Onoyima, a lecturer in Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu to this chaplaincy in September 1978.

3.    The Search for Land and Initial Building Efforts: The Chaplaincy of Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Onoyima
The problem of an appropriate place of worship, a church, had confronted the Catholic Community since the Nigerian College days. At the end of the war, the place of worship for all Christians was a multipurpose hall. Worshipping in the hall had its attendant problems such as weekly re-arrangement of seats, preservation of mass vestments, wine and hosts; hasty Sunday Mass in order to give way to other worshipers etc. All these problems underscored the urgent need for a place of worship for the Catholic community.
Applications to the University Administrations for land to build a church were made in 1971, 1976 and 1978. The first, under the chairmen ship of Chief R.N. Egwele, was firmly supported by Rev. Fr. Ekwu, the then Monsignor Ezeanya of Nsukka campus and Bishop Godfrey Okoye. Administrative bottleneck resulted in lack of response from the university authority.
However, the third application for space was a combined action of Catholic and Protestant communities, with full student participation in the request. In May 1979, under Professor E.I. Nwogugu as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, allocations were made to the two communities following a ballot. The site allocated to the Catholic community was a sloping piece of land behind the water thanks, with Ikenga and Braithwaite roads at the eastern and southern ends.
Under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Onoyima as chaplain, church building arrangements were immediately embarked upon. A lecturer in architecture, Dr. P. Marzynski, produced building plans. The chairman of the Building Committee, Professor Pita Ejiofor and his team levelled the hilly ground, moved in blocks and constructed a site office. On November 9, 1980, under Prof. Umezurike's chairmanship, the Bishop of Enugu, his Lordship Bishop M. Eneja performed the turning of the sod ceremony which was witnessed by eminent personalities including the Deputy Governor, late Chief Roy Umenyi. Building construction was started with vigour and brought up to DPC level. Unfortunately, a devastating soil erosion at the site and other problems resulted in cracking and crumbling of walls at the foundation level. This incident brought to the fore, several other problems of this unsuitable site and the Catholic community unanimously decided to abandon the place and petition for another location.

4.         New Building Site.
In March 1983, during the chairmanship of Mr. Godwin N. Okoli, the quest for another site began. A petition, signed by Rev. Fr. Onoyima and eight carefully selected representatives of the chaplaincy was submitted to the Vice-Chancellor, through D.V.C Enugu Campus, Professor J. A. Umeh. The Church Council appointed a small committee to tour the campus and recommend a sight. The group, comprising of Mr G. N. Okoli, Dr. P. Amene, Mr. A. O. Okwuowulu, Dr. Respond and Mr. F. C. Opara, toured the campus early in February 1984. After the tour the committee selected the present site of our church and the Parish Council approved the choice. However, the approval of the new application for another site was vigorously pursued by all organs of the parish. St. Anne's CWO was in the forefront. Her President, Mrs. Bridget N. Onah and her deputy, Mrs. Florence N. Okoye in a subtle way, succeeded in persuading the DVC to approve and recommend the request before him for a new site. His approval was received in April 1984. Technically, this Enugu campus level approval was a recommendation. The parish council pursued this happy development further. Vigorous efforts were made to draw up a site plan and secure the final but necessary approval of the Vice-Chancel lor Prof. F.N. Ndili. A delegation consisting of Fr. Onoyima, Mr, Okoli, Dr. Amene, Prof. C. Ilegbune, Arch. Spetzman and Engr. C. Melie visited Nsukka on the issue. The final success story came in March 1985 when the Vice Chancellor, in writing, "approved that the proposed Catholic Church building in Enugu Campus be built at the allocated site recommended by the Deputy Vice-chancellor...."

 

5. The "Miracle Church"
To get the site ready for building construction, the chaplaincy benefited from the services of the following experts:- Arch. Szpetman, who drew and donated site plan; Mr. Rospond and Engr. Pawlowski both of them at different times directors of physical planning at Nsukka; Arch. Chris Oji who drew the building plans and took only 50% of the fees and Dr. R.C. Odumodu who waived 100% of the fees due to him for his structural drawings. The executive and all members of the chaplaincy worked tirelessly and prepared the site for building construction. A site office was erected before Mr. Okoli handed over to the next executive in June 1985. The construction of the present church began in 1986 under the direction of Rev. Fr. (Dr.) T. Onoyima and during the chairmanship of Barr. Alphonsus Okoro. The building committee chairman since 1984 was Dr. Luke O. Nwoye. He started the new church and later handed over to Prof. J. Onah.

How did a small, highly mobile community of staff, students and children succeed in building a big church of this size and aesthetic features? There were no levies and university campus is not inhabited by men and women who are financially wealthy. The answer lies in the faith and determination of the entire community. Fr. Onoyima and his various executives believed that "on the mountain God provides". And God indeed provided: various fund raising committees raised substantial incomes; St. Anne's CWO organized Ezinne Dance and raised funds; Barr. A. Anyamene, SAN, donated all the blocks used in walling the church; His Lordship, Rt. Rev. Eneja funded the foundation works and roofed the church through special benefaction. Annual Harvest/Bazaar incomes were put into the building project, savings were made from free services of the community and free services of experts. Sir Joe Nwankwu, Chief Chekwas Okorie, Prince Arthur Eze and many anonymous donors helped the community turn a dream into a gigantic reality. Our highly motivated and dedicated members of the chaplaincy donated furnishing items.

Dedication of the community must be emphasized because it is a great factor throughout the history of the parish. The zeal with which the Faculty of Law, led by Prof. B. Okere, Dr. G.O.S. Amadi and Barr. Mrs. T. Ilegbune organised a very successful harvest/bazaar which yielded substantial income to the chaplaincy in 2003 is one instance of this level of dedication. Mrs. Nwanne Modebe performed a similar fit in 2002 Harvest. This is why St. Mulumba's Catholic Church UNEC, is regarded as a miracle church. SMCC is indeed a "miracle church" built not on levies but on donations received from near and far.
Mrs. Esther Ezeoke energetically produced the Weekly Bulletin of the chaplaincy with the familiar slogans and rules of Rev. Fr. Onoyima. There were eventually about 33 such slogans: e.g

  1. Move with us; we set the pace, others follow.
  2. If you are not ashamed to embarrass the community, we shall not be ashamed to embarrass you before the community.
  3. Identify yourself with us and you shall be identified.
  4. Receive the Holy Communion with the highest respect.
  5. Put your hands together and do not swing them as you return to your seat after Communion.

The chaplain's House ie the Parish House, was built before Fr. Onoyima was transferred.
6.         The Chaplaincy of Rev. Fr. Ugonna Igboaja
Rev. Fr. Dr. Ugonna Eugene Igboaja took over from Fr. Onoyima as the new chaplain in January 1998. During the Holy Mass preceding the handover ceremony, Fr. Igboaja, the chief celebrant, burst into a series of songs of praise for Jesus. He involved the community in singing, clapping and dancing with joy. The whole congregation was thrilled. Rev. Fr. Onoyima observed "You haven't seen a thing yet". This brief comment turned out to be a most appropriate introduction of the new priest. Subsequent events proved Rev. Fr. Onoyima right. He (Rev. Fr. Igboaja) brought vigour, concentration and joyful participation in celeb rations of morning and Sunday Masses and other liturgical ceremonies.

Fr. Igboaja concentrated on spiritual worship. He tried to make St. Mulumba's chaplaincy a worshiping community, a preparatory school that will produce, according to him, "worthy candidates for the kingdom of heaven". The phrase "worthy candidates for the kingdom of heaven" was his often repeated slogan. He pursued his mission with great energy, commitment and consistency. Regular transforming contact meetings were held with students' pious groups: Legion of Mary, Catholic Law Students Association. (CALSA), Catholic Business Students Association. (CABSA,) Catholic Environmental Student Association, Federation of Catholic Medical and Dental Students (FECAMDS) etc. In pursuit of the same objective he prepared a room at the left side of the church and transferred the Blessed Sacrament to that location for regular and private worship. He put in place periodic novena evening worships during which the community prayed the rosary and other prayers and ended with benediction. Sometimes the novena was for thirty days. In this and other ways, the chaplaincy made clear progress in spiritual growth. A most beautiful, well designed and expensive ceiling of the church was accomplished under his regime. The ceiling was financed by a generous but anonymous donor. Two entrance gates were re­designed and an office building was started in the Fr.'s quarters. The Nativity Nursery School was started in December 1998. Rev. Fr. Igboaja also planned a multi-purpose hall.
8. The Management Organs of the Chaplaincy
Affairs of the chaplaincy were managed, under the supervision of the chaplain, by the following organs: The Parish Council, the Catholic Women Organization (CWO), the Catholic Men Organization (CMO) and the Nigerian Federation of Catholic Students (NFCS).

a. The Parish Council
The central organ of parish administration, coordination and execution of activities is the parish council. The body makes things happen. The lay leader is officially the Vice-Chairman while the priest is the chairman. However, because of the peculiar nature of this chaplaincy the lay leader of the council is actually addressed as chairman, right from the days of Rev. Fr. Ekwu. This arrangement enabled him to write and pursue matters with the various authorities with minimal bureaucratic delay. Even under this arrangement, the chaplain approved all decisions before they could be executed. Until recently the parish council was composed mainly of men, with representation from CWO and NFCS. Now it consists of representatives of all the management organs which includes the various pious societies under the NFCS.

LAY LEADERS OF THE PARISH COUNCIL
 b. Chairmen of Parish Council, 1972 – 2010
Chief R.N. Egwele                            -           1972 – 74
Chief F.O. Ikeme                              -           1974 – 76
Prof. J.O. Onah                                 -           1976 – 78
Prof. Oji Umozurike                        -           1978 – 80
Mr. G.N. Okoli                                  -           1980 – 85
Barr. A.O. Okoro                              -           1986 – 90
Prof. S.O. Iloeje
Prof. Clement Okafor
Dr. S.O. Orimilikwe
Surveyor R. Asoegwu
Mr. A.U. Onah
Chief J.A. Ezeh                                 -           1999 – 2003
Dr. O.F.N. Ozoemene                       -           2003 – 2005
Dr. A.U. Mba                         -           2006 -------

c.         Church Council Members: 1972 – 1974
Chief R.N. Egwele                            -           Chairman
Mr. C.N.N Ugo                                  -           President, N.F.C.S
Mr. F.C. Opara                                  -           Secretary
Mrs. S.A. Akpala                              -           Treasurer
Mr. E.T. Nsofor                                 -           Member, N.F.C.S
Mr. David Ejeni                                -           Member, N.F.C.S
Rev. Sister Ijara                                -           Member, N.F.C.S
Mrs. C. Ikeme                                    -           Member
Mr. M.O. Anyaduba                         -           Member

 

 

d. 1974-1976

Chief F. O. Ikeme

-

Chairman

Nat. F.C. Opara

-

Secretary

Mr. M.O. Anyaduba

-

Member

Mr. G.C. Okoye

-

Member

Mr. C.C. Nwosisi

-

Member

Mrs. J. Okoli

-

Member

Mr. P.E. Eneh

-

Member

Mrs. V. Ekpechi

-

Member

Mr. B.A. Oriaku

-

Member

e. 1976-1978

 

 

Dr. J.O. Onah

-

Chairman

Mr. G.N. Okoli

-

Vice-Chairman

Mr. M.O. Anyaduba

-

Chairman, Fin. Comm.

Mr. L. 0. Nnaji

-

Secretary

Miss. Rita Ogakwu

-

Ass. Secretary

Mr. G.C. Okoye

-

Treasurer/warden

Miss. Uzoamaka Onyiuke

-

Fin. Sec.

Mr. C. Akpamgbo

-

Legal Adviser

Mr. A C. Ezejelue

-

Auditor

 

  1. 1978-1980

Dr. Oji Umozurike                           -           President
Mr. Godwin N. Okoli                       -           Vice-President
Mr. Lawrence O. Nnaji                    -           Secretary (up to June 1980)
Mrs. Victoria Emele                         -           Assistant Secretary
Mr. Alpho. O. Okwuowulu             -           Fin. Sec.
Dr. Julius O. Onah                            -           Treasurer
Mrs. Victoria Mefo                          -           Member
Mr. Pita Ejiofor                                 -           Member
Mr. Anthony O.N. Ezeani               -           Member
Messrs B. Okoli and Okolo            -           Members
Chief R.N. Egwele                            -           Member
(Presidents NFCS)                           

  1. Chanel Building Committee 1978 -1980

Professor Pita Ejiofor                                  -           Chairman
Mr. Alphonsus O. Okwuowulu                  -           Member
Mr. G.N. Okoye                                            -           Member
Mr. (now Justice) Anthony O. N. Ezeani  -           Member
Mrs. Victoria Emele                                    -           Member
To this list may be added the following names of others who rendered long services in other capacities up to 1986: Professor Raymond Anikwe, Chief P.C. Unainka, Professor R.A. Udekwu, Barrister Andrew Anyamene (SAN) Professor C. Ilegbune, Dr. Luke Nwoye Professor C.N. Okeke, Professor P.O. Egwim, Mr. H. Ohiri, Mr. F. Agbo, Mr. Attama, Mr. E.E. Emeter.

9.         ST. ANNE'S CHRISTIAN MOTHERS ASSOCIATION (CWO)
The Catholic Women Organization is one of the management organs of the chaplaincy. It has been the most active organ right from inception. CWO makes things happen in this parish. It started originally as St. Anne's Christian Mothers Association. The first secretary of the Association Barrister Sylvia Akpala, in an article in 1980 stated as follows:
"On March 15, 1972 some good spirited ladies resident on this campus who belong to the Catholic faith conceived an idea that it would be necessary to have a Christian Mother's Association which make for better understanding among die catholic women and also enable them contribute their quota towards the moral, spiritual and social development of the University Catholic Conununity in particular and the whole society in general.
Severalad hoc meetings were held to make the idea a reality and to find a suitable name for the Organization. On February 18, 1973, formal general meeting was held in which the association was christened St. Anne and its first executives were elected. The membership of St. Anne Christian Mothers Association is open to the wives of both Senior and Junior Staff of this University whether resident inside or outside the University Campus. It is also not discriminatory as to whether or not a Mother is a communicant. The only qualification for membership is that such a lady must have been attending the Catholic Church on this Campus.

Like every organization, St. Anne has its aims and objectives some of which are:

  1. To foster better relationship among the Christian Mothers.
  2. To show examples of what good motherhood stands for.
  3. To help the needy within and without the University Catholic Community.

In recent times, the following objectives were added:

    1. To take active part in matters pertaining to or affecting Catholic life both spiritual and temporal.
    2. To promote social, educative and Christian activities.

 

a.         Foundation Members 1972
The foundation members in 1972 are: Mrs. R.N. Egwele - President
Mrs. Cecilia Ikeme, Mrs. Sylvia A. Akpala, Mrs. Theresa Akpamgbo, Mrs Julie U. Okoli, Mrs. Okpa, Mrs. Nwosisi, Mrs. Nnaji, Mrs. Oriaku, Mrs. V. Ugwuanyi, Mrs. V. Okoye, Mrs. G. Azu, Mrs. V. Emefesi, Mrs. Oyibo, Mrs. Angelina Opara, Mrs. Nzekwu, Mrs. Ihemadu, Mrs. Charity Oparaocha, Mrs. Felicia Anyaduba, Mrs. Georgina Ekpechi, Mrs. Eneh, Mrs. Ude, Mrs. Akadile, and Mrs. Mercy Akpamgbo".
The name "St. Anne Christian Mothers Association" was later changed to: Catholic Women Organization (CWO). Membership is by application. Monthly meetings are- held at the new Nativity Nursery School.

    1. C.W.O Members - 1974 - 75

Mrs. Cecilia Ikeme                                                   -           President
Mrs. Julie U. Okoli                                                  -           Secretary
Mrs. Felicia Anyaduba                                            -           Treasurer
Mrs. Nzekwu                                                            -           Financial Secretary
Mrs. Udeozo                                                             -           Publicity Secretary
Mrs. Mercy Akpamkpo & Mrs. Okoye                 -           Provosts
Mrs. Okpa & Mrs. Nsiegbunam                             -           Auditors

    1. 1975-1979

Mrs. Georgina Ekpechi                                                       -           President
Mrs. Ihemadu                                                                        -           Vice President
Mrs. Bridget N. Onah                                                          -           Secretary
Mrs. Akpamgbo (taken over by Mrs. V. Uzoaga)           -           Treasurer
Mrs. Nsiegbunam                                                                 -           Fin. Secretary
Mrs. Nzekwu                                                                        -           Provost
d.         1980
Mrs. Victoria Mefo                                                  -           President
Mrs. R.N. Egwele                                                     -           Vice President
Mrs. Okeke                                                               -           Secretary
Mrs. Emele                                                                -           Treasurer
Mrs. V. Unamka                                                       -           Asst. Secretary
Mrs. J. Okoli Mrs. Onoh                                         -           Fin. Secretary
Mrs. Akpamgbo & Mrs. Nsiegbunam                   -           Publicity Secretary
Mrs. A. Opara & Mrs. V. Okoye                            -           Church Wardens

 

f.         CWO Achievements
Due to space limitations, only a few of CWO achievements are listed here:

    1. In the very early days, the Association donated to the Daughters of Divine Love and Bigard Seminary all in Enugu..
    1. In November 1983 CWO volunteered to pay the fees of the most indigent student. University administration was contacted and the name of a student from Western Nigeria was given. A bill was attached. CWO settled the bill of this "most needy student" regardless of religious belief.

 

    1. Ezinne dance (first outing, May 1984) was embarked upon as a means of raising funds for church building. The dance went places in Enugu and Onitsha and considerable funds were raised.
  1. The CWO is currently building a nursery school: The Nativity Nursery School. Planned and stalled (Dec. 1998) during the presidency of Mrs. Dorothy Nnolim, the building was significantly advance during the presidency of Mrs. Carol C. Asoegwu. The executive, headed by Professor Mrs. Rich Umeh has roofed the building thanks to the foresight of the Chaplain in-charge at that time:- Rev. Fr. Herbert Ene who approved the use of parish funds for the roofing. The immediate past executive headed by Dr. Mrs. Ndiokwelu handed over the Nursery School in a state of final structural finishing and furnishing. The current executive headed by Dr. Mrs. Ozoh set to work to open the School by making it habitable. Doors, windows and electrical fittings were fixed. The building is painted and playground prepared. Other necessities such as water tank, swings and merry-go-round have been provided. The school is scheduled to start in September 2010.

 

  1. When the parish house was completed in the 1980s, the CWO fully furnished the Kitchen.
  1. Annual charity visits to the destitutes is an important programme of CWO ever since inception.

 

  1. St. Anne's CWO, SMCC, UNEC has a guiding principle which enables her deliberate on financial, spiritual, social and disciplinary issues.
  1. CWO motto is: 'Charity, Peace and harmony'.

 

  1. CWO contributes substantially to the up-keep of the chaplaincy. It furnished the Chaplain's house and contributes to the environmental sanitation of the Chaplaincy.

C.W.O Executive (1999 -2003)
Mrs. Carol Asoegwu                        -           President
Mrs. Monic Eluka                            -           Vice President
later replaced by                              Mrs. Tessy Okwuowulu
Mrs. Onah                                          -           Secretary
later replaced by                              Dr. Mrs. Akabogu    
Mrs. Sussy Dioka                             -           Asst. Secretary
Mrs. Eucharia Eze                            -           Fin. Secretary
Mrs. Kate Eze                                   -           Treasurer
Mrs. Vicky Onyeke                          -           Provost
Mrs. Eunice Obioha                         -           P.R.O

 

  1. CWO Executive (2003 – 2009)

Prof. (Mrs.) Rich E. Umeh              -           President
Dr. (Mrs.) Chika Ndiokwelu           -           Vice President
Mrs. Maria Onodugo                       -           Secretary
Mrs. Okiche                                      -           Financial Secretary
Mrs. Chinyere Onuoha                    -           Asst. Fin. Secretary
Mrs. G. Ezeugwu                              -           Treasurer
Mrs. Udegbe                                      -           Provost
Mrs. Stella Eze                                  -           Social Organizer

  1. CWO Executive (2006 – 2009)

Dr. (Mrs.) Chika Ndiokwelu           -           President
Dr. (Mrs.) Gladys Ozoh                   -           Vice President
Mrs. Maria Onodugo                       -           Secretary
Mrs. G. Ezeugwu                              -           Treasurer
Barr. Ebere Okiche                          -           Financial Secretary
Mrs. Udegbe                                      -           Provost
Mrs. Stella Eze                                  -           Welfare

  1. CWO Executive (2009 – Date)

Dr. (Mrs.) Gladys Ozoh                   -           President
Mrs. Virgy Asomugha                     -           Vice President
Barr. Florence Ohanu                      -           Secretary
Mrs. Oby Nwagbo                            -           Asst. Secretary
Mrs. Uche Ozomene                                    -           Treasurer
Lolo Kate Achi                                 -           Financial Secretary
Mrs. G. Oleka                                    -           Asst. Fin. Secretary
Mrs. Anyaogu                                   -           Social & Publicity Secretary
Mrs. Alice Chiwetalu                       -           Asst. Social & Publicity Secretary
Mrs. Martina Ukwu                          -           Provost
Mrs. Ekeocha                                    -           Asst. Provost

  1. ZONAL LEADERS

St. Augustine’s Zone                       -           Lady Christy Nwosu
St. Jude’s Zone                                 -           Lady Christy Nwosu
St. Peter’s Zone                                -           Mrs. Edo Uduonu
Good Shepherd’s Zone                   -           Mrs. Philo Iloeje

  1. ST. ANNE’S CWO CHAIR PERSONS 1972 -2010

Mrs. R.N. Egwele
Mrs. Cecilia Ikeme
Mrs. Georgina Ekpechi
Mrs. Victoria Mefo
Mrs. B. Nkechi Onah
Mrs. V. Obiageli Tabansi
Dr. (Mrs.) Nduka Okafor
Dr. (Mrs.) Ogbuokiri
Barr. (Mrs.) Sylvia Akpala
Prof. (Mrs.) Dorothy Nnolim
Mrs. Carol Asoegwu
Prof. (Mrs.) Rich E. Umeh
Dr. (Mrs.) Chika Ndiokwelu
Dr. (Mrs.) Gladys Ozoh

11.       THE CATHOLIC MEN ORGANIZATION (CMO)

The CMO was late in starting off as a distinct management organization of the parish. CWO and NFCS started in early 1970s. However, the late start is not a comment on the participation of men in the affairs of the church. Far from it. Men were by far in the majority in the parish council and her various committees. The council was the administrative engine of the chaplaincy all through her history. Men made their contributions at that level.

The early impetus for the formation of the CMO was provided by Prof. C.U. Ilegbune and later by Engr. B.N. Nnolim. The sustaining impetus was provided by Prince Ray Okiche – a diocesan officer of the CMO. Coming from larger parishes. Late Mr. A.E. Mgbemena and Mr. D.E. Ohaegbulem were agog with new ideas. Professor Ilegbune was ably assisted by Mr. B.O. Arua as secretary. The first and succeeding executives had to determine the basic function: regular meetings, committee, retreats, etc. Professor Francis Okofor not only chaired the fund raising committee, he was, in many ways a major prop. Prof. Bonnny Nwakoby and Dr. A.U. Mbah helped the CMO synchronize planning and execution of laudable programmes. Mr. G.M.A. Afunanya represents CMO in diocesan meetings.

  1. Notable Events:
  2. On April 29, 2000, at diocesan level, the following men representing CMO, SMCC were conferred and decorated by the Bishop, Rt. Rev. Gbuji, as patron: Chief J.A. Eze and as special members: Engr. B.N. Nnoli and Surv. R.N. Asoegwu.

 

  1. CMO has introduced the wearing of diocesan uniform for members. Uniforms are worn by members within and outside the parish and during Father’s Day celebration, burial ceremonies and major feasts and events of the church.
  1. Since year 2000, CMO has introduced an innovation in her participation in Mother’s Day celebration. Each year, a surprise gift is presented to each and every member of the CWO after the Holy Mass. The gifts committee usually ensures that each year, item carefully selected has spiritual and lasting significance. This symbolic act of love has been deeply appreciated and reciprocated by the mothers. You can’t outdo the CWO in generosity. Every year, during the Father’s Day celebration, CWO presents special gifts to each member of CMO.

 

  1. Annual Celebration of Father’s Day in May has been institutionalized. It is a great feast day in the Chaplaincy.
  1. Visiting sick members to pray and infuse hope in them is part of CMO activity.

 

  1. CMO Anthem: Hail Holy Joseph, Hail! Is sung at the beginning and end of CMO meetings.
  1. CMO wishes to honour members, dead or alive, who have significantly contributed to the growth and development of CMO and the Chaplaincy. Report of a Committee headed by Mr. Godwin Okoli, on criteria, is presently being studied.

 

 

CMO EXECUTIVE MEMBERS

  1. 1993 – 1999 (June)

Prof. C.U. Ilegbune                           -           Chairman
Engr. B.N. Nnolim                            -           Vice-Chairman
Mr. N.O. Arua                                   -           Secretary
Chief J.A. Eze                                   -           Treasurer
Mr. V.E. Ezeugwu                            -           Fin. Secretary
Prof. C.A. Okafor                             -           Ex-Officio member
Prof. Francis Okafor                        -           Chairman, Fund Raising

  1. 1999 – 2003

Mr. G.N. Okoli                                  -           Chairman
Prince R. Okiche                              -           Vice Chairman
Barr. S.N. Ezeh                                 -           Secretary
Arch.A.F. Iloeje                                -           Treasurer
Mr. H. Ohiri                                       -           Provost
Mr. H. Ezeugwu                                -           Provost
Mr. R.A.E. Ekeocha                         -           Fin. Secretary
Mr. C.O. Onuoha                              -           Asst. Fin. Secretary

  1. 2003 – 2006

Prince R. Okiche                              -           President
Dr. A.U. Mba                         -           Vice President
Mr. Alphonsus Aneke                     -           Secretary
Dr. F.E. Ejezie                                   -           Treasurer
Mr. C.O. Onuoha                              -           Fin. Secretary
Mr. A.U. Onah                                  -           Managing Secretary
Mr. H. Ohiri                                       -           Provost

  1. CMO Executive: 2006 – 2009 (February)

Dr. G.O.S. Amadi                              -           Chairman
Mr. D.F. Nwagbo                              -           Vice-Chairman
Mr. A.E. Okosun                               -           Secretary
Mr. O. Ukwu                                     -           Assistant Secretary
Mr. J. Chiwetalu                               -           Financial Secretary
Prince R. Okiche                              -           Treasurer
Mr. A.I. Aneke                                  -           P.R.O.
Mr. R. Ezugwu                                  -           Provost
Mr. P. Asogwa                                   -           Assistant Provost

  1. CMO Executive: March 2009 to Date

Prof. G.O.S. Amadi                           -           Chairman
Chief D.F.Nwagbo                            -           Vice-Chairman
Mr. A. E. Okosun                              -           Secretary
Mr. O. Ukwu                                     -           Assistant Secretary
Mr. J. Chiwetalu                               -           Financial Secretary
Mr. F. Ayogu                                     -           Treasurer
Mr. A.I. Aneke                                  -           P.R.O.
Mr. R. Ezugwu                                  -           Provost
Mr. P. Asogwa                                   -           Assistant Provost

 

12.       NIGERIAN FEDERATION OF CATHOLIC STUDENTS (NFCS)

NFCS!                                    NFCS!!!
Living the faith!!                              And who cares joo/!
Living the faith !!!                           NFCS does jaree!!

NFCS blow your trumpet!
La! La! La! La! La! La!! La-a!
Blow it louder!!
La la la la la-a-a!

These are the slogans of the NFCS which precede every announcement after the Holy Mass. The slogan warms up the entire church.

Mr. Hyginus Onah, NFCS Secretary in 1980 stated: “The Nigeria Federation of Catholic Students is a Catholic action organization that brings together all catholic students in all institon of higher learning in the country. She is affiliated to the “PAX Romana”, better known as the International Movement of Catholic Students. Prior to 1971, Nigeria Federation of Catholic Students, Enugu Campus never existed as a separate body from Nsukka Campus branch of the organization. In that year Enugu became autonomous when it hosted the National Secretariat which is usually rotated amongst the institutions of higher learning every year. Since her existence as an autonomous unit, the organization has not lacked good, dedicated and purposeful leadership”.

Mr. Ogaziechi Kenneth, NFCS President and Ms. Ogbobe Prudence, current Vice President further explain that objectives of NFCS according to the constitution, include:

  1. To propagate Catholic faith principles and doctrine.
  2. To instill in members sound Catholic practices for spiritual and moral enrichment.
  3. To serve a unifying body of all Catholic students: undergraduate and postgraduate.
  4. To know more about Christ and make Him known to others through involvement in lay apostolate.
  5. To promote good relationship with other registered religious bodies on issues of common interest.

Obligations of members include:

  1. Live good Christian lives
  2. Teach, uphold and practice catholic doctrines and beliefs.

There are nine NFCS provinces in Nigeria namely:
Onitsha, Owerri, Benin, Calabar, Lagos, Ibadan, Jos, Kaduna and Abuja. Onitsha ecclesiastical province where we belong, has membership strength of over twenty-five schools”.

  1. N.F.C.S Presidents 1970 – 2010

1970/71         Odu, MAC
1971/72         Ugo, C. Later Obiekwe, C.O.Z.
1972/73         Nwabueze, E.D.
1973/74         Elenwune, V.O.
1974/75         Molokwu, A.K.
1975/76         Nwankwo, G.O.
1976/77         Ewulum, C.C.
1977/78         Amobi, Ilika
1978/79         Iwu, Cletus
1979/80         Okoli, Basil, C.
1980/81         Mr. Jude A.P. Okolo
1998/99         Mr. Magnus Ezuma
1999/2000     Chief Ajero
2000/2001     Mr. China Emeka
2001/2002     Mr. Anselem Ogbujiere
2002/2003     Mr. Dennnis Edokpai (Caretaker) Co-ordinator
2003-2005     Mr. Aldrick Bennet Ilechukwu
2005-2006     Mr. Kenneth O. Ogaziechi
2006-2008     Mr. Uzoechi, Nnamdi Donatus
2008-2009     Mr. Nkamuke Chukwunonso Mary
2009-Date     Mr. Emeghara Charles Emeka
*1971/72       C. Ugo National President

There is a gap or records about NFCS leadership between 1982 and 1997. We know for certain that there were active leaders who pursued various programmes. Someone will have to fill the gaps in future.

  1. The Immediate Past NFCS Executive (2006-2009)

Mr. Kenneth O. Ogaziechi              -           President
Ms. Amaka G. Okolo                       -           Vice-President
Mr. Kanayo Okeke-Eweni              -           Secretary General
Mr. Darlington Obi                          -           Assistant Sec. General
Mr. Uche Anusionwu                      -           Financial Secretary
Ms. Chinwe Ezeodumegwu -           Treasurer
Ms. Blessing Eze                              -           Director of Religious Affairs
Ms. Chinasa Mbachu                       -           Public Relation Officer
Ms. Nneka Ezenduka                       -           Director of Socials
Mr. Ugochukwu Anumba                -           Director of Transport
Mr. Kenneth Agu                              -           Director of Works
Mr. Cyco Nwosu                              -           Director of Games

  1. NOTABLE EVENTS, ACHIEVEMENTS AND ACTIVITIES OF NFCS

 

  1. NFCS Week – Organized annually it is often a week of activities including lectures, spiritual excursion, rosary procession, cultural night, drama, Bible Questions, charity visits, etc. The NFCS week of 21 – 28 February 1982 was opened by his Lordship Bishop M. Eneja with a Pontifical High Mass.
  1. A notable fund raising activity was in 1983 when it organized a raffle draw. The parish appointed a committee headed by Professor Chris N. Okeke to supervise the project as it was in aid of church building. First prize: a brand new Volkswagen Beetle 1500cc was presented to the lucky winner by His Lordship, Bishop Eneje on June 5, 1983.
  2. Students organize their own harvest/bazaar when they are not on campus during the main harvest/bazaar. Substantial proceed are realized and paid into the parish account from students harvest/bazaar.
  3. Purchase of NFCS 608 Bus during 1988/99 session.
  4. NFCS makes and executes all the necessary arrangements for hostel Mass. This is now a familiar event on campus The Hostel Mass rotates from one hostel to the other.
  5. Save lfeanyi Okafor campaign is an example of how the students actually live the Catholic faith. A member had a vehicle accident and is in the hands of the doctors for long term treatment. The Catholic Students, as a body, first went into prolonged prayers - then fund raising campaign for further treatment of the student abroad.
  6. Sometimes, students lead the community during Stations of the Cross procession. Their performance is remarkable. They have been trained to organize and execute the devotion every week during lent. The prayerful movement from Abuja section of the campus to the church involves the entire community:- parents, children and students. At the 12th station when the soloist (a student) sings in Igbo: Kedu ife m melu unu? (What did I do to you all?) the absolute silence invokes a feeling you cannot describe in the processing community. That the Nigeria Youths, can evoke this level of meditation, is a happy reality which is not generally known outside the campus.
  7. Thanks to God, many people outside the campus are beginning to notice the practical "living the faith" of Nigerian youths in this university. One such person was Rev. Sister Mary Banigna Olioha who was formerly living in Kenya but is now in Lagos. She worshipped with us for over a week. She had seen the church full every day of the week before 6 am. On Ash Wednesday 2004 she could not continue suppressing candid observation. Fr. Herbert Unegbu had announced to hundreds of students waiting outside the church (because the church was full) to wait and receive the ashes outside. Sr. Oluoha asked: "why are Nigerian students portrayed only in lurid light as criminals, culprits, cultists etc. What I have been seeing since 1 arrive is that many, indeed very many, students make honest efforts to serve the Lord. This side of the story should also be known to the public". This to me is a tribute to NFCS! And of course to the priests.
  8. Organisation of spiritual exercises such as Saturday rosary processions round the campus, fellowship, retreat, hostel morning rosary and hostel Masses.
  9. Students say their rosary prayers as they move individually from their hostels to the church for morning Mass. This method of silent prayers and meditation was gradually instilled on the students following preaching and admonitions of the present Chaplain.
  10. For the smooth running of NFCS, various Committees have been set up. They include: Religious Committee, Federation Week Committee, Editorial Board, Games Committee, Transport Committee, Works Committee and Finance Committee.
  11. Student-Staff Forum was established in 2007/2008 session to enhance student- staff relations. The forum enables indents to freely communicate their fears, moral, social and other problems and benefit from mature advice.
  12. NFCS has well equipped music groups: The Brigade Band and the Gospel Band.
  13. NFCS also has a cultural troupe: The Joyful Family Theatre Group and the Ituegwu Chineke Cultural Dance Troupe.
  14. Pax Magazine is an annual NFCS publication. An Almanac is also published.
  15. Saint Albert the Great, whose feast is celebrated every 15lh November is the Patron Saint of NFCS.
  16. The NFCS National Anthem: "Living the Faith" was composed and written by a student of this chapter, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.

 

13.       CHILDREN - The Precious Ones
Umuaka! Umuaka!!
Enyi Jesus Kponkwem!!!
This is the arousing refrain as the priest addresses the children during the mass.
At their own level, they are very active. They participate in all activities: the holy Mass, Benediction, Stations of the Cross, Harvest and Bazaar, Christ the King procession etc. They are members of pious groups e.g Legion of Mary, Block Rosary.
The keeper of our project collections records, Mr. D.F. Nwagbo observes that children contribute, in no small way to parish funds. For instance, during Thanks Giving Mass on Sunday August 31, 2003, children took first position in the collections, beating CMO, CWO and NFCS. This is not an isolated example. How the children, toddlers among them, organized themselves and achieved this feat: gbali Igbo ghai: It is from the ranks of children that the parish maintains a steady inflow of mass servers, alter girls etc. who hold the fort during long holidays. The chaplains have always paid glowing tributes to these children who steadily maintain the religious activities of this campus, in and out of session.
14.       REV. FR. DR. CHIMA NWAMADPS CHAPLAINCY
Rev. Fr. Nwamadi took over the chaplaincy of St Mulumbas's Catholic Church early in November 2004. He was posted to the chaplaincy by the Bishop of Enugu following his return from a long sojourn in the United States of America. Right from his first day of celebrating the Holy Mass, Fr. Nwamadi left no one in doubt as to his mission and ambition. He was in a hurry to bring about some changes and introduce some innovations.
He pursued a policy and a slogan of faith in action. Bring the community closer to Jesus Build a stronger spiritual foundation. Only the best is good enough for God and the church. He soon let the chaplaincy know and experience some of his plans for the future. Taking over in the season of Advent, he introduced in the liturgy, the advent candle and explained its significance. He introduced other changes and actions including the following: the New Sanctuary, Children as Lay Readers, Carnival 2006, and Planning Ahead.
a.         The New Sanctuary
The most significant of the physical and spiritual changes in the church is the sanctuary. A beautiful altar was torn down for a larger and by for more impressive one. The initiative for redesigning the altar came from a philanthropist who donated a substantial amount for the project. Although the donor remains anonymous, it was the same philanthropist who built the well designed, expensive and first class ceiling of the church. The main features of the new sanctuary are:

  1. An expanded altar space, lectern: all, in marble. New decorations, designs and other features adorn the sanctuary making it liturgically inviting for prayers. Fr. Nwamadi observed: "We have changed the dynamics of the altar into deep worship".
  2. A large crucifix at the centre of the Alter wall portraying a freshly crucified Christ.
  3. Two lights focus on the crucifix from left and right angles symbolising Christ as the light of the word.
  4.      When one of the lights is beamed on the crucifix, you see a powerful image of Jesus hanging (dropping) on the cross. It is a very touchy image which up- lifts the worshipper and enables him to deeply meditate. Suffering Christ gives hope to suffering humanity.
  5.       An expensive tabernacle at the centre with a special lamp on a stand.
  6.     Sixteen boxes at the base of the altar along the communion rail fitted with sculptured images of Jesus, His Mother Mary, His twelve apostles and some saints. Whereas at the top the worshipper in faced with the image of Christ hanging on the cross, at the base, the sacred heart of Jesus, bleeds for love, mercy and forgiveness.
  7. Two powerful lights at the top of the altar wall illuminate the entire sanctuary.
  8. The estimated cost of the Sanctuary project is 15 million Naira. Thanks to the help from an anonymous donor.
      1. Children As Lav Readers

One of the most successful recent experiments in this chaplaincy is die appointment and training of young children as lay readers. They are mainly elementary school children. Because of age, they are not visible when they stand behind a lectern so they stand on a stool. Even then the face becomes barely visible as he or she reads.
The children read in English and in Igbo depending on the day of the week. They sing the responsorial psalms and Gospel Acclamation in English and in Igbo, again depending on the day of the week.
The children have been very distinct and fluent in reading both languages. They have been most melodious in their songs. Fr. Nwamadi and the entire worshipping community are very pleasantly surprised at what the children can do. How can small kids, facing large congregation of between 2 and 3 thousand read and sing without stage fright and without stuttering?! The ovation for the kids during post communion announcements is resounding. Fr. Nwamadi's policy of "catch them young' has succeeded. Children now take their turns in the weekly roster of lay readers which comprises of the following groups - CMO, CWO, NFCS, Children.

      1. Carnival 2006

Fr. Nwamadi also embarked on enculturation. On the principle that good aspects of Nigerian Culture should be projected, he, the management organs of the church and community, planned and celebrated Carnival 2006. The theme was: Re^ax, God Is In Control. It was a week long celebration culminating in cultural displays at UNEC Temporary Stadium, Enugu.
Members of the chaplaincy, including Rev. Fr. Nwanadi- the Igwe na agba ofala - dressed in traditional attires. The events featured Iwaji ceremony, Ijele masquerade, Egedege dance, Basket masquerade, Adamma masquerade and various cultural displays by faculty associations. Edo, Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo dances entertained distinguished personalities and the crowded stadium. The famous "Ezinne Dance' of CWO, St Mulmba's Chaplaincy also entertained.
The reformation carnival was widely reported in the media. The primary programme which started with renunciation of cultism was brought to an end with a thanksgiving Mass at SMCC, UNEC.

d.         Five Years Pastoral Plans, 2004-2009
Fr. Nwamadi hinted early on assuming duty that he was working on a development plan. He took the matter to the church council and in the end came out with the following five years development plans eRt; mated to cost about $41.5 billion.

        1. Landscaping the Church Premises:

Landscaping was an issue at present. The existing landscaping was inadequate. The environment of "untutored glass" was uninviting for worship anc liturgical functions. Landscaping project was estimated to cost 141.5 million.

        1. Painting and Air- conditioning the Church:

Periodic painting of the church is a policy matter. It is part of the plan for this chaplaincy. As a place of worship, the church must continue to be clean, renovated and attractive all the time. For comfort of worship, ceiling fans and air-conditioners were installed. This project was estimated to cost N1.9 million.

3          The Mater Dei Hostel:
Fr. Nwamadi noticed the poor, unhygienic and definitely unacceptable conditions of living of students in hostels. Female students sleep two in one jiartow bed and about twelve in a room. He considered seriously the need for treating better living environment and conditions for them. The first practical action in tackling the students' problems was the periodic supply of water to students to alleviate the serious problem of irregular water supply. The second step was the announcement of a plan to build a female hostel, to be named Mater Deil Hostel. Preliminary construction activities were started at the site, while a proposal on the issue is being considered by the University Administration. The project was then estimated to cost £4500 million.
4.         Centre of Excellence:
There is also a proposal to build a centre of excellence - a building where everybody is accommodated. The various pious groups- CMO, CWO, NFCS will have offices. Tiere will be an auditorium, conference area for meeting, a hall for weddings and a library for private studies. The library will of course preserve chaplaincy documents. The centre of excellence will obviate the need to use the church for non-liturgical functions like private studies, eating and drinking. These non-spiritual functions have since been banned in the church. This project was estimated to cost WOO million.
5.         Opening of the Nativity Nursery School:
The nursery school started by the CWO need to be completed and opened. The estimated cost, right from the very beginning, is N3 million.

Past Executive of Parish Council, 2006-2009
Rev. Fr. Dr. Chima Nwamadi                     -           Chairman
Dr. A.U. Mba                                                -           1st Vice Chairman
Prof. Mrs. R.E. Umeh                                   -           2nd Vice Chairman
Mr. A. E. Okosin                                          -           Secretary General
Mr. R. O. Ogaziechi                                     -           Assistant Secretary
Mr. D. F. Nwagbo                                         -           Fin. Secretary
Mrs. G. A. Ezugwu                                       -           Treasurer
Prof. S. O. lloeje                                           -           Director of Socials
Dr. G. O. S Amadi                                        -           Member
Dr. (MRS) C. Ndiokwelu                            -           Member
Mrs. A. A. Ndu                                             -           Member
Mrs. V. N. Unamka                                      -           Member
Mr. R. Ekeocha                                             -           Member
Mrs. D.C. Obiako                                         -           Member
Mr. C M. Afunanya                                      -           Member
Mr. J. Chiwetalu                                           -           Member
Mr. K. Okeke- Eweni                                   -           Member
Miss M. Ikelionwu                                       -           Member
Prof. B.O. Okere                                           -           Legal Adviser

CONCLUDING SYNOPSIS
In her thirty-six years of history, St. Mulumba's Catholic Chaplaincy has experienced memorable phases of development under God's blessings. The Almighty Father worked through purposeful clerical leadership and dedicated followership. Through the warmth of personal relationships, preaching and family visits, Fr. Aaron Ekwu and some Opus Dei priests created the nucleus of a catholic worshipping community on this campus in the 1970s. The need for a permanent place of worship naturally followed. In twenty years of active and eventful leadership Fr. Onoyima, in 1978, motivated the community into embarking and successfully completing a church building project. Spiritual and physical church building developed contemporaneously. Taking over the baton, in 1998, Fr. Igboaja focused the community's attention on the kingdom of heaven. "We must aspire to be worthy candidates". Spiritual growth manifesting itself in increased number of students and staff who attended morning mass and private adorations, became the order of the day.In late 2004, Fr. Nwamadi has brought into the community worship: physical, spiritual and liturgical transformations. Liturgical observances have assumed greater importance. More conducive physical environment is progressively in place. A new sanctuary is designed to elicit deep adoration and reflections from worshippers.
END OF PART I OF OUR BRIEF HISTORY. PART II WILL SOON FOLLOW.