Bishop Ajang elevates Maria Assumpta mission to parish

From Esther Akaa, Lafia

The Catholic Bishop of Lafia Diocese, Most Revd David Ajang has elevated Maria Assumpta Catholic Mission, Bukan-Sidi, Lafia in Nasarawa State to the status of a parish after 10 years of its establishment.

Ajang, therefore, installed Revd Fr James Adamu, who has been serving as the priest-in-charge of the mission since establishment as the first Parish Priest of the Catholic church.

The bishop made the pronouncement on Sunday during his pastoral visit to the church to commission the rectory and Marian Grotto, built by the church to commemorate its 10th year anniversary, held in Lafia.

According to him, the tremendous growth of the church both physical and spiritual over the years, made it possible for the elevation, expressing hope that the development would encourage the congregation to do more for the continuous growth and development of the church.

“Based on your achievements in the last 10 years, I, Bishop David Ajang, hereby elevate Maria Assumpta Catholic Mission to the level of a parish.

“The Church which used to be referred to as a mission is now a parish and its priest who used to be referred to as priest-in-charge shall therefore, be referred to as parish priest.

“This pronouncement is made on the 30th day of October in the year of the Lord, 2022,” Ajang said.

The bishop, commended the congregation for their perseverance and support towards the growth of the church, especially for successfully completing the rectory and a Marian Grotto for the benefit of the priests and the entire Christian community.

He prayed God to continue to grant them the grace to be dedicated and committed to the things of God, in order to spread the gospel of Christ.

Earlier in his homily, the bishop charged Christians to focus on God and not allow their personal challenges prevent them from having a relationship with God.

Ajang, who cited an example of the story of Zacchaeus in the Bible said, he was a tax collector and sinner but he did not allow his situation to prevent him from seeing Jesus.

“Zacchaeus was a tax collector and a short man but he was determined to see Jesus. He went as far as climbing a sycamore tree just to catch a glimpse of Jesus because of the crowd and as soon as Zacchaeus met with Jesus, his situation was changed from bad to good.

“We too can change our ways when we encounter Christ. Whenever we listen to the words of God and receive the Holy Eucharist, we encounter Jesus. Thus, we need to show to others that we are truly the representatives of Jesus Christ by our actions,” he said.

He charged Christians to work according to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit which are; wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and the fear of God, in order to gain salvation.

Speaking on behalf of the church, the Laity Council Chairman, Mr Festus Umbugala, noted that the church was created as an outstation of St William’s Cathedral and became an independent mission after seven years of its creation.

Umbugala appreciated the bishop for elevating the church, saying it was a prayer answered and assured that the gesture will spur them to be more committed in doing God’s work.

He, also thanked the priests, religious and all the worshippers at the church for their financial and moral support and called for its sustenance.

On his part, the newly installed Parish Priestpriest of the church, Fr Adamu, expressed joy and appreciation to the bishop for making their dream come true.

He prayed God to continue to grow the Christian community in faith and keep them together in unity as one family.

In an interview with The Voice, one of the choir masters of the church, Maxwell Alu said “it is a thing of joy to see Maria Assumpta mission being elevated to a parish. As a choir, we will now be addressed as Maria Assumpta Parish choir and we are happy and excited.”

Another worshipper, Celestina Christopher said the elevation of the church will give them the courage to go for evangelism, in order to spread the gospel and win more souls to Christ.

The Voice reports that, about 142 members of the church received the sacrament of confirmation and became soldiers of Christ.

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