BY SUNNY A. DAVID
It was a historic moment of joy in Odida Eziowelle in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State as the Community held a Thanksgiving and Launching of Cardinal Arinze Peace and Reconciliation Center, in honour of it’s illustrious son, Francis Cardinal Arinze.
The center which is expected to be completed within a space of 36 months is a 1000 capacity seated auditorium, that will contain an apartment housing the memorabilia of Cardinal Arinze, a library, 50 bedroom guest house, supermarket, cafeteria and limited outdoor games facility complete with perimeter fencing for security.
The event which held at Uzubi Central School, Eziowelle and attended by people from all works of life started with a Votive Mass for Peace and Justice celebrated by Cardinal Arinze.
In a homily, Francis Cardinal Arinze said it is the will of God that all men will live together in joy, happiness and progress, notwithstanding ones, tribe, religion, colour, language or circumstances of birth.
He noted that religion is not only about going to church on Sundays but also ensuring peace and Justice at all times, stating that since the Nation has many capable people, with peace much Development will be achieved.
While admonishing the congregation, the Arch of Onitsha and Metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclasisatical Province, Most Reverend Valerian Okeke, represented by the Auxiliary Bishop, Most Reverend Dennis Isizor, said peace can only be achieved where there is unity and tolerance.
In his speech, the Chairman on the Occasion and member representing Idemili North and Idemili South Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Chief Osita Chidoka said the Cardinal having gone to over 65 countries of the world to oversee and resolve peace in most trying and difficult parts of the world, it is significant that he is immortalised in his Community while still alive.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Chairman organising Committee, Chief Anthony Chigbo, said the project was aimed at immortalizing a chip off the old block, who gave and has continued giving to humanity through selfless service, describing the 89 year old Cardinal as an enigma, an interreligious, inter racial and inter cultural promoter who has for 34 years been a global ambassador of peace and reconciliation.
The Spiritual Director of the Committee, Rev Father Charles Anene, pleaded with all men of goodwill to help donate to the project to ensure that it reaches its apogy to enable posterity benefit from it.
In a Vote of thanks, Chief Cosmos Ikemelu, while appreciating everyone for their efforts in ensuring the success of the programme, said that since Cardinal Arinze has been involved in reconciliation for decades, the country needs to tap into his ability to reconcile issues globally, to resolve the various conflicts bedeviling our society.
Others who spoke included, the Traditional Ruler of Mbaukwu, Igwe Peter Anugwu, the Vice Chairman, Planning Committee, Dr. Anthony Okeke, the Chairman of Odida Community, Mr. Nonso Aghadinuno.
Highlights were the laying of the Foundation Stone and launching of the center as well as cultural dances and band display.