Maduako Igbokwe l Friday, December 9, 2022
ONITSHA, Anambra, Nigeria – Archbishop Emeritus of Archdiocese of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan on Thursday described the former Prefect of Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments, Vatican City, Rome, Francis Cardinal Arinze as an outstanding Legend and an Icon of the Universal Church.
Onaiyekan made the statement while delivering his homily during the celebration of a High Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Cathedral Onitsha to mark the 90th birthday of Cardinal Arinze
He said the church of God celebrates Arinze in many ways. According to him, Arinze was the first Archbishop Emeritus of Onitsha who stirred the church and her people out of the turbulence and ravages of the Nigerian civil war that lasted between 1967 to 1970.
He said Cardinal Arinze had distinguished himself in the service of God and humanity in his tour of duty while in Rome. Onaiyekan said that Arinze was destined by God for a great mission on earth.
He described him as one of the living ancestors of the catholic church.
Onaiyekan recalled that Cardinal Arinze’s intellectual prowess started during his seminary days, saying that Nigerians cannot forget the prominent role he played in the Beatification of Blessed Iwene Tansi in Nigeria in the year 1998 when Pope John Paul visited Nigeria for second time , even as he expressed hope that he will remain alive to witness the final canonisation of Tansi.
Speaking at the occasion, Governor of Anambra State Prof Charles Soludo described him as one of the finest priests which Anambra gave to the world.
“You have been such a great influence and inspiration to the universal world, Anambra State, Nigeria and to me personally. I recount, you had a special mass for me and my predecessor, giving me a message which I will never forget. You told me, that while I am in a haste to change the world, I should always remember that the people I deal with, are children of Adam and Eve,” Soludo said.
Soludo also gave special thanks to the Archdiocese of Onitsha, for organizing such an auspicious event and to everyone who attended the mass on Thursday, a working day.
He further stated that it was nice to be in the same Mass with his immediate predecessor, Chief Willie Obiano and wife, Ebelechukwu Obiano, APGA Senatorial Candidate for Anambra North, as well as the former Governor of Anambra State and the Labour Party Presidential Candidate, Mr. Peter Obi.
Personalities in attendance included, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe (Agbogidi), Sen. Victor Umeh (Labour Party Senatorial Candidate, Anambra Central), Hon. Ikenna Iyiegbu (Ike Cubana) APGA Candidate, Idemili North and South Federal Constituency, Cardinals, Bishops, Monsignors, Rev. Fathers, Traditional Rulers, Papal Knights among others.