By Nnamani Chinwendu
The thanksgiving mass for the 10th year priestly anniversary of Rev. Fr. Callistus Ani which was held at St Michael parish Asata, Enugu state started at 10:00am. The mass which was presided over by the celebrant, had in attendance several priest including the Bishop Emeritus, Most Rev. A. O. Gbuji, the religious and lay faithful who all came together to celebrate with the priest.
He thanked all those present in the thanksgiving mass, the bishop Emeritus, Rev Fathers, Rev. sisters and all others and prayed that the blessings of the anniversary will be made manifest in the lives of everyone present.
The homilist Rev Fr. Henry Uwabunkoye centered his homily, on the Gospel of the day which was taken from Luke 19: 1-10 and spoke on the topic “Message of Great Joy”. He said that for God to have called Fr. Callistus among men to the vocation of priesthood albeit unworthy just like zacchaeus in the gospel is a message of great joy to him, his family, the catholic community and the world at large. He went further to say that God has sanctified him for his work because God sanctifies all those he chooses to work in His vineyard.
He advised the celebrant to always look onto God who called him, move from judging to correcting people, avoid excessive urge for material things and above all to remember that God who called him will always be with him in his vocation. To the lay faithful, the homilist advise to remember at all-time that God who choose the priests is in all most holy and to always pray for the grace of God on the priests rather than condemning them because.
In his vote of thanks, the celebrant thanked all those who came to celebrate with him including the Bishop Emeritus, Most Rev A. O Gbuji, Rev Fr. Jude Mbah of St Micheal Parish Ugwuaji his home parish, Rev Fr Ben Achi, Rev Fr Wilfred Agu, Rev Fr. Longinus Ugonwa, Very Rev Fr. Paul Otakagu, Very Rev Fr. Callistus Aneke, reverend Sisters, Deacons, the Choir and a whole lot of others, praying for journey mercy as they all journey back to heir destination after the event.
Speaking with Choice Flame reporters in an interview session after the mass, the celebrant said “I am highly edified and elated, I am privileged that God called me 10 years ago inspite of my unworthiness, God consecrated and configured me to become a priest. I am even happier and joyous today that I am celebrating my 10th year anniversary.
Speaking on the challenges he has had in past 10 years of being in the priesthood, he said “the challenges are too numerous to mention but the grace of God is always there, as the challenges present themselves, the grace of God is always there to see me through”. Speaking further he said that even though the priesthood is hazy, he prays that he continues to enjoy, to find joy and meaning in his call to the catholic priesthood.
In another interview with the mother of the celebrant, she expressed her profound joy and gratitude to God on behalf of her son Fr. Callistus, she also prayed for long life for her son and that God will through the laying of his hands and prayer, heal the sick, give children to the barren and supply to those in lack. Choice flame crew also spoke with the Chairman planning committee, Chief Hon Ikechukwu mba who said he is happy that despite the challenges they encountered while planning the event, the Lord saw them through and as a result the event has been a successful one. He also said that being that the priesthood is not an easy vocation, he is delighted seeing Fr. Callistus celebrate his 10th year anniversary and he prays that God will continue to see him through in his chosen vocation.
There was also a reception held after the holy mass where guest were treated to refreshments. Different dance group were also present to entertain the guest, at the end of the day, it was a wonderful and joyous 10th year priestly anniversary.