The duo of the Catholic Bishop of Awka, Most Revd Paulinus Ezeokafor, and his Ekwulobia counterpart, Most Revd Peter Okpaleke, recently received over 1000 bags of rice from BEGINN e.v., a German-based non-profit organization, popularly known as Option for the Poor, as palliatives in this period of COVID-19 pandemic.
Odogwublog reports that BEGINN e.v, is a non-profit organization based in Germany, whose main aim was to help the poor and downtrodden by giving them access to food and education.
The palliatives were received by the shepherds of the two dioceses last Monday and Wednesday June 1st and 3rd 2020, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Awka and St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Ekwulobia, respectively.
Speaking to Fides, Bishop Ezeokafor appreciated the efforts Rev Fr Martin Joe Ibeh, a native of Nanka community of Anambra State, through whose efforts and mediation the palliatives came.
He (Bishop Ezeokafor) also thanked the donors for supporting the two dioceses through their charitable agenda, noting that Awka diocese had been in partnership with BEGINN e.v. and had received support from the organizations including scholarships.
When asked of the disbursement strategy, the prelate recalled that the two dioceses recently distributed 1000 bags of rice using the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), St Vincent De Paul, Brothers of St Stephen (BSS), and parishes as channels of disbursement, disclosing that the rice would be shared to the people to ease pains and impacts of coronavirus.
He, however, called on well-meaning Nigerians to support the poor and not wait on the government alone. ‘The Church is not political in disbursing palliatives,’ he said, affirming that whatever Is given to the Church for the poor will eventually get to them.
Newsmen reached out to the priest-mediator, Rev. Fr. Martin Joe Ibeh, who is the parish administrator of Guldenbachtal-Langenlonshein in the diocese of Trier, Germany. In a telephone interview with him, Fr Ibeh, a member of the executive committee of BEGINN e.v, disclosed that he was one of the founders of BEGINN, which he said, was established 2005, with the aim of reaching out to the poor and uneducated.
Expressing delight in what he described as fulfilling, he noted that the organization had plans to reach out to more communities in Anambra State and beyond before the pandemic, adding that it would not relent in its efforts to assist the poor.
‘I am happy seeing my mission to use the opportunities I have over here’, he acknowledged, ‘to assist people especially the needy in Africa come true’.
Receiving the 500 bags of rice allocated to Ekwulobia diocese, the Catholic Bishop of Ekwulobia, Most Revd Peter Okpaleke, urged all and sundry to remain focused and faithful to God, observing the guidelines as outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant government agencies.
Bishop Okpaleke further appreciated the donors for what he described as timely humanitarian gesture, stressing that he was happy with the efforts the Church, individuals and organizations had taken in helping the poor during this pandemic.
‘On behalf of the good people of Ekwulobia diocese’, he said, ‘I want to appreciate BEGINN e.v for extending their hands of love to Ndi Anambra in a difficult time as this,’ he concluded.
The Chief Shepherd of Ekwulobia diocese also urged all well-meaning indigenes of Anambra State, home and abroad, to continue to support and contribute to the alleviation of poverty and hunger in the State particularly at this trying moment of coronavirus pandemic.
Revd Fr Kenneth Udokaogu, the bursar of Ekwulobia diocese, who is also in charge of the collation and distribution of palliatives was present. Some members of the Curia of Ekwulobia diocese were also on hand to receive the palliatives with their Bishop.
Very Rev. Fr. Prof. ABC Chiegboka, the Vicar General; Rev. Fr. Lawrence Nwankwo, Chancellor; Rev. Fr. Anthony Ezeokeke, Bishop’s Secretary; and Rev. Fr. Charles Umeoji, Vicar for the Clergy. Others were Rev. Fr. Callistus Nwokoye, Assistant Secretary to the Bishop; Rev. Fr. Jude Mbanefo, priest in-charge of diocesan projects, and Fr. Boniface Ezeoke, priest responsible for the poor in the diocese. Some lay members of the diocese were also present to witness the event.