CATHOLIC devotes of the Legion of Mary of Awka and Ekwulobia Dioceses turned out in their thousands at the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka, to celebrate the centenary of the association founded by Frank Duff in Dublin, Ireland, on 7th September, 1921.
The pious society known for their spiritual works of evangelism and winning souls for Jesus Christ through the Blessed Virgin Mary, made its entrance in Nigeria in 1933 before reaching Adazi Nnukwu, in the present Awka Diocese in 1941.
In a sermon during the occasion, the Catholic Bishop Awka Diocese, Most Reverend Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor commended the legionaries for their resilience and evangelism which have helped the church to depopulate the kingdom of darkness.
Bishop Ezeokafor joined Christians to emulate the legionaries as everybody has a part to play in the work of evangelisation.
The prelate spoke on Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary and expressed his belief in one Nigeria provided the rights of all Nigerians are respected.
He frowned at a situation where some sections of the country are deprived from sharing the national cake, and therefore prayed for God’s intervention.
Bishop Ezeokafor called for free and fair election in the November 6th governorship election in the state, and used the opportunity to urge politicians to advertise themselves to the electorate to assess their credibility.
At the reception for the centenary, the former senator, representing Anambra Central Senatorial Zone, Chief Victor Umeh, commended the legionaries for their work of evangelisation and the gains of being a member of the pious society.
In her message on the centenary, a Marian devotee, Lady Victoria Okafor spoke of the edifying motherhood of Mary to mankind and urged all Christians to rely on her intercession in difficult moments.
During the event, some award recipients, Dr. Alfred Emelife and Mrs. Chinwe Nweke spoke of the generosity of Mary in their lives, expecting all Christians to embrace her when faced with challenges of life.
Other dignitaries that graced the centenary celebration include the former Central Bank Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the Secretary to the Government of Anambra State, professor Solomon Chukwulobelu, the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C. Don Adinuba, the traditional ruler of Nawgu, Igwe George Okaa-Onwuogu, a legionary and award winner.
Other award winners include; Brother Samuel Mary Arinze, former Regia President of the Legion of Mary, Awka Diocese, Brother Hyacinth Igwebuike, his vice, Brother Felix Okeke, Sister Bernadette Nwakole, the treasurer of the society and a staff of the Ministery of Information and Public Enlightenment, among others.
High points on the celebration were the blessing of the Legion of Mary House by Bishop Ezeokafor, launching of the Legion of Mary Evangelisation Bus by the chairman of the occasion, Sir John Odike, and fund raising for the acquisition of land for Marian Pilgrimage Center.