Saint Francis and Saint Theresa’s Parishes were carved out in October 1995 from Saint Anthony’s Parish, Enugwu-Ukwu, the mother parish by the Most Reverend Dr. Simon Okafor, Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese then. This brought jubilation to Enugwu-Ukwu indigenes, especially Catholics. The Pioneer Parish Priest is Reverend Father Ignatius Chukwuma Ezeakacha.
Soon after the inauguration, the new parish priest moved from Saint Anthony’s parish house to the newly created parish, though without parish house. Thanks to Mrs. R.U. Ufom (Iyaji) from Urunnebo village who volunteered to shelter the new priest. The cooperation from other parishioners was unequalled; hence the parish was able to achieve so much.
The parish house was built within a short time, while the boy’s quarter was soon set up through the financial support of CWO of the parish. The Catholic Women Organization equally constructed two-storey building as hall. The chapel for perpetual adoration was also put in place. The same Good Samaritan, Mrs. R.U. Ufom from Saint Francis Parish Urunnebo, Enugwu-Ukwu, further sunk a borehole for Saint Theresa’s parish. Fencing of parish house was done by the Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON).
The church building was at the foundation level when Father Ezeakacha was replaced by Reverend Father Sylvester Mgbemfulu, who also handed over to Reverend Father Chris Okoli, who continued with the church building. In addition, Father Okoli set up the Saint Teresa’s Secondary School Enugwu-Ukwu in 2003.
Reverend Father Chris Okoli, June 19, 2005 handed over to his curate, Reverend Father Emmanuel Ezenwata, who, after three months handed over to Reverend Father Bartholomew Anyacho. Father Anyacho fenced the church premises. Also, under his watch, the parish was dedicated on November 14, 2009 by the Most Reverend Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor Bishop of Awka Diocese.
Reverend Father Callistus Igwenagu took over from Father Anyacho on October 2, 2011. He started the foundation of the Saint Theresa’s Secondary School in 2012. He organized mass wedding during which so many couples regularized their marriages and returned to the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. There is also an increase in the number of pagan converts.
Father Igwenagu organized the feast of Saint Theresa, recognizing and honouring the octogenarians of the parish. He also gave rise to spirit of love and unity among the parishioners through the slogan: Saint Theresa – One Family. He was assisted by Reverend Father Peter Ibeazor. Before he left, he ensured that the Ministry of Education granted our school approval for NECO examination. He also acquired land in Ire and Akiyi villages for expansion. It was also under him that Sir B.O.B Ugonabo built and donated a brand new chapel of adoration.
On October 2, 2017, Father Callistus Igwenagu handed over to Reverend Father Jude Ubah, assisted by Reverend Father Johnpaul Chukwuelobe. In spite of the tremendous developments that have taken place over twenty years of the parish; he initiated a comprehensive plan towards landscaping, walling of the premises and installing befitting gates as well as completion of the CWO hall. A new ultra modern grotto has been built and donated by the Val Ayika family in honour of their mother, Mrs. Agnes Ayika.
God, in His infinite goodness, has been with us as a parish. He has blessed us from inception with seasoned and good shepherds who were charismatic, energetic, dedicated and devoted as well pillars and friends of the parish and parishioners who were ready at all times to give their support. Who would have believed that the beautiful look Saint Theresa’s parish is wearing today would have been accomplished within 25 years. This is the Lord’s doing.
Our slogan, Saint Theresa – One family, captures the mood today and as a family, we give the Almighty God all the glory for all He has done for us within 25 years. We pray that He guides, protects and bless us now and in the years to come.
Therefore, the Parish Priest, Reverend Father Jude Ubah, the vicar, Reverend Father Johnpaul Chukwuelobe, the chairman of the planning committee, Sir Lawrence Okonkwo and the entire parishioners, invite you to join us in thanking God in this past 25 years. It will start with a pontifical mass at 10am by the Bishop of Awka Catholic Diocese, the Most Reverend Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor. Please be there!
WRITTEN BY LADY TINA EKENTA