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By Chukwudi Abiandu
Fr. Dennis Chukwudindu marks 10 years as priest in God’s vineyard, returns all glory to God
He was amazed that it is already 10 years since he was ordained as a priest of the Catholic Church.
Indeed, come Saturday, July 8, 2017, all roads lead to Obah in Anambra State where members of the congregation have lined up activities to honour their priest with a celebration of his 10 years as an ordained catholic priest.
Born in April, 1968 in Lagos on a Good Friday, to the family of late Pa Christopher Chukwudindu Okafor Abiandu and late Mrs. Egoagu Veronica Abiandu, Fr. Dennis hails from Igbodo in Ika North East Local Government of Delta state. He is currently the parish priest at the St. Augustine Catholic Church, Obah, Anambra State.
Reflecting on this during a chat with banneronlinenews.com, Rev. Fr. Dennis Ekenedilichukwu Chukwudindu, CSSR, said: “How time flies! I am surprised that it is already 10 years since I was ordained a priest. It was a class mate who called to remind me that it is already 10 years.”
Expressing joy that in 10 years of serving in God’s own vineyard it has been with good health and still waxing strong, he returned all the glory to God for the opportunity given him to serve as a minister of God.
In answer to a question, he said: “During this period I have worked in various capacities and in various places, including Abuja, Lagos and Canada. On my return from Canada, I worked in the Eastern states of Nigeria, Obah in Anambra State.
He continued: “During this period, I am privileged to observe the honour people extend to God, and by extension to me as His servant. I looked at it and say that I have the greatest gift from God for making me a priest, and I am grateful to Him.”
Within this period he never recorded breakdown of any kind to distract me from performing my duties, God keeping him healthy. Fr. Dennis as he is fondly called by admirers and members of his congregation, that serving God as priest makes a lot of demand on one, in terms of ministering to the spiritual needs of the people of God as a priest, engaging in regular prayer and making sacrifice of the mass. This is in terms of being called into the challenges faced by people in family matters, and spiritual challenges. He hinted that as a priest, you are close to the people and so you feel somehow when you see them confronted by problems, and then you are vicariously faced with the challenge to help them out.
For him, one of the challenges he faced is the challenge of getting the people to having their faith rooted in God. “The recession has affected the faith of some people, and it becomes an added challenge to get them to continue to believe and trust God and His word. There is also the challenge of working in a remote setting, where the Christian faith is still growing; a place where you have the traditional pagan religion that is still very much in place. It is not easy as a Catholic priest working in this environment. We just allow God to take charge. Mine is to do my duty and allow god to be in charge. He is the owner of the church; I am only a pencil in His hands,” Fr. Dennis said.
Now that it is 10 years, how does he hope to connect with the future, he said: “For the future I will continue to look up to God. He is the Pillar. I am a joyful man in Ministry, despite the challenges. My joy has its root in God.”
In celebrating his 10 years as an ordained priest, Fr. Dennis paid glowing tribute to colleagues with whom he is currently serving at the St. Augustine Catholic Church, Obah, Rev. Vincent Ehugbo, CSSR, and Rev. Fr. Jude Dibia, CSSR. His friendship with Rev. Ehugbo dates back to their student daysat the Seminary in Ibadan, Oyo State, pointing out that when he (Fr. Dennis) came to Obah, Rev. Ehugbo extended hands of support to him that has helped in the modest achievements made so far. “Rev. Fr. Jude Dibia has been very supportive of me, standing in when I am not around,” Fr. Dennis declared.
As parish priest at the St. Augustine Catholic Church, Obah, as well as the administrator of the St. Gerard Shrine, a Christian Pilgrimage Centre where people come for prayer asking for the intercession of St. Gerard, Fr. Dennis disclosed that he has been at the Obah Parish since 2012 on his return from missionary work from Canada. “I worked as an associate priest before assuming the position of the parish priest in 2015.
“Within this period, we have worked with the people in handling spiritual activities and worked with the youths. Currently also, I am the Chaplain of Catholic youths, Obah zone. In the parish within two years, we were able to complete the building by roofing it, and coming to our missionary house, called St. Gerard House, we celebrate mass at the St. Gerard shrine for the people on pilgrimage, even as we also hold mass services and prayer sessions to Mary under the title, Mother for perpetual Help.
“It will interest you to also know that I am presently the Secretary-General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha. But my major work is spiritual,” Fr. Dennis pointed out.
In his 10 years, he disclosed that testimonies abound of God has touched and ministered to using us as instruments. He enthused in particular about of barren women who through encounters with the parish have today become joyful mothers of children. “This is the story of a woman from Nassarawa state; I don’t know her in person till now. I received her call one day, saying she was asked to contact me by a friend. She had the problem of barrenness. I told her I was putting her on our prayer list, and we continued to remember her case and presented it before God. Today, she is a joyful mother of children,” Fr. Dennis said.