By Christopher Orji & Millicent Ossai The experience and facts of life have proven the words of Rev. Chrysostom Baur, OSB that, “stars are first noticed when they begin to shine; and that the stars of humanity first begin to shine long after they have any existence, without having been noticed at all, to be true.” In the year 1932, a baby was born on an Afor day into a humble, farming family in Eziowelle, Idemili North Local Government Area, Anambra State. He is the third of the seven children born to Joseph Arinze Nwankwu and Bernadette Arinze (nee Ekwoanya of Abagana). At birth, his father gave him the name “Anizoba”. Since he was born on Afor day, he was also called Nwafor. He was baptized by the Blessed Iwene Tansi of blessed memory on November 1st, 1941 when he took the name Francis. His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze was ordained a priest in Rome in the year 1958, as a Bishop in the year 1965 and appointed Archbishop of Onitsha in 1967. On his return from Rome after his priestly ordination, he was assigned to Enugu Diocese, which was the first place he worked as a priest in Nigeria. His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze marked the golden jubilee of his Episcopal ordination in the year 2015 and Enugu Diocese, being the first place he worked as a priest, was the first to kick-start the event in the whole Onitsha Ecclesiastical province. This event in Enugu Diosese began with a dinner party at the Bishop’s residence on Saturday, August 8th, 2015, a date the same as when the Cardinal arrived in Enugu. The dinner party began with an opening prayer said by His Lordship, Most Rev. C.V.C Onaga. In his opening remarks, Bishop Onaga described the dinner party as the beginning of the event of the 50th Episcopal ordination anniversary of His Eminence. He equally described the night as a blessed and happy one, to thank God for the gift of His Eminence to the world in general. He described Francis Cardinal Arinze as a man with great potentials and one with so many positive qualities and the Bishop prayed God to bless His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze as he turns Fifty years a Bishop. The dinner party was graced by Monsignori, Priests, Religious from different congregations, Lay Faithful and Cardinal Arinze’s Personal Secretary, Rev. Fr. Batholomew Uba. In his vote of thanks, His Eminence thanked the Diocese through the Bishop for welcoming him back to the Diocese, where he began his priestly ministry. He appreciated the dinner party and thanked God for His love and mercy towards him. Bishop Onaga also thanked the Celebrant and all who honoured the occasion and prayed God to bless everyone and for journey mercy back home. The celebration continued on Sunday, August 9th, 2015 with a Holy Mass at the Holy Ghost Cathedral Parish. It began promptly at 10:00am and was presided by the celebrant, His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze. The Cathedral administrator, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. John Nwafor, on behalf of the Diocese, welcomed everyone who graced the occasion including the host Bishop, Most Rev. C.V.C Onaga, the Archbishop of Metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke, Auxiliary Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese, Most Rev. Denis Isizoh, the Bishop Emeritus of Nsukka Diocese, Most Rev. Francis Okobo, the Bishop Emeritus of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Anthony Okonkwo Gbuji, the Bishop of Nnewi Diocese who was duly represented by Very Rev Fr Jude Chukwuma, the governor of Enugu State, His Excellency, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, government officials and many other dignitaries. In his homily, Francis Cardinal Arinze reflected on two points namely; (1) Enugu Diocese and (2) The Holy Eucharist, as central in Diocesan and parish life. Reflecting on the first point, the homilist traced the history of Enugu Diocese, which according to him, was established in the year 1962 and had as her first Bishop, Most Rev. John Cross Anyogu, whom he also described as the first Catholic priest east of the River Niger. Cardinal Arinze thanked God for the tremendous growth and work of God’s grace in Enugu Diocese. He enumerated those areas where this growth had manifested including the birth of both Nsukka and Awgu Dioceses. He went further to thank Bishop Onaga and the entire faithful of Enugu Diocese for celebrating with him and sharing in his joy. He urged the Diocese not to forget the sick, the old, the lonely, the homeless, the poor and needy. On the second point, he focused on the first reading taken from the first book of Kings (1Kgs. 19:4-8) and the gospel reading taken from Saint John (Jn. 6:41-51). In the first reading, Cardinal Arinze figured out Prophet Elijah whom according to him had tough time in front of the king of those days who wished him death including the king’s wife named Jezebel. Prophet Elijah in an attempt to escape from them ran into the desert where he fell asleep after being exhausted and the angel of the Lord woke him up, offered him bread and water, which sustained him for forty days and nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. This bread and water according to him, is the symbol of the Eucharist which will lead all mankind through this earthly journey, until we reach God’s mountain in heaven. The gospel passage presented Jesus as the bread of life, who came down from heaven and this bread of life which is the Eucharist is central in the life of both the parish and the Diocese such that, a Christian who does not take part in this Eucharist when celebrated, will always have questions to ask himself or herself. Furthermore, he enumerated three major functions of a Diocese or parish which include – (1) Faith (2) Worship and (3) Solidarity * FAITH: According to the celebrant, faith of the Catholic Church cannot change. He went further to say that, the Catechism of the Catholic Church summarized this very doctrine in fewer pages. He encouraged the faithful to read their bible always, because it contains and unfolds our Christian faith. More so, quoting St. Jeromehe said “he who does not know the Holy Scripture does not know God.” So knowing God according to him is part of our faith. * WORSHIP: He described the celebration of the Holy Eucharist as the supreme act of worship, saying that, “Our Catholic faith is power from the Holy Eucharist and the highest celebration is the Holy Mass”. Hence, there is nothing the Church has that is equal with Mass. He went further to say that, there is only one thing the Church has that is as great as the Mass, which is another Mass. He, therefore, urged the people of God to make effort to share in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and should also take it to heart. * SOLIDARITY: This, according to Cardinal Arinze, is a part of our Christianity and can also be called Christian love or attention to the old, to the sick, to the neglected and to all those who need help. “When a Priest or a Deacon says, the Mass is ended, let us go in the peace of Christ, we are expected as Christians to go and practice what we have heard, prayed and meditated and not to go home and rest” the celebrant said. Finally, he prayed God to bless Enugu Diocese in faith, worship, and solidarity. After the reception of the Holy Communion, Very Rev. Msgr. Adigwe Hypolite from Nnewi Diocese with the mandate of the Bishop of Onitsha and Owerre Ecclesiastical Provinces presented the new published Igbo Bible which was produced by the St Paul Missionaries in three different versions to His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze. He received them with great joy and charged all the faithful to make sacrifice to buy one. Bishop Onaga expressed his heartfelt joy and gratitude to God for His bountiful love & blessings to the Diocese and also to the celebrant of the day. He prayed God to sustain and strengthen His Eminence, all through his ministerial life. The Holy Mass came to an end with the final blessing. This was followed immediately by reception ceremony and witnessed lots of activities like presentation of kola nut to His Eminence, which was done by Bishop Onaga and the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; presentation of the welcome address, which was rendered by the chairman preparatory committee, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. John Nwafor; cutting of the jubilee cake led by the celebrant and accompanied by Bishop Onaga and other guests; entertainment from Umu-Ugo Cultural Troupe; presentation of gifts to His Eminence, etc. Amongst those who presented gifts to the celebrant included, Enugu Diocese with a huge sum of three Million Naira and a Brand New Hiace Bus; the Vicar for Priest, Very Rev. Msgr. Ugonna Igboaja gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the Diocese. Finally, Francis Cardinal Arinze in his vote of thanks expressed his joy and amazement to Enugu Diocese owing to the celebration of the golden jubilee of his episcopacy. He described it as, a great one. He thanked everyone for their generous hearts and all those who suffered to provide those gifts. He thanked all the Bishops from various Dioceses for gracing the occasion, not minding their tight schedule. He prayed God to bless and reward everyone in hundred of folds. The event came to a successful end with a closing prayer said by the Bishop Emeritus, Most Rev. Anthony Okonkwo Gbuji.