Until today, we believed Rev. Fr. Prof. Peter Damian Akpunonu to be our own here at Tansi. Until today, we took pride in being his only beloved children and students. Until today, we felt we had celebrated his birthday, and that was enough. Until today, we did not fully realize with whom we had enjoyed his presence and wealth of knowledge, wisdom, grace, and experience. We were all wrong until today; for this day was our Emmaus experience, our eyes were opened, and we realized who P.D. truly is. It is with mixed feelings that we at Tansi will have to take our rightful place as the “last born” of our beloved father, formator, pastor, and teacher.
Today reassures us that until children celebrate their parents, no one does it better. At Tansi, the resident home of Fr. Peter Damian, among the many guests were an astonishing number of his students who traveled far and near to celebrate their father, teacher, pastor, formator, and mentor. These “children,” who now have achieved countless noble feats like their father and beyond, came with loads of salute, honor, praise, recognition, and, at most, thanksgiving to lay them before their distinguished teacher and father to celebrate him at 80. This celebration was planned and actualized by his students, who saw it worthy to gather around him with seeds of gratitude to the celebrant and thank him for all the works and sacrifices and all the storms of discipline he had once set on their paths, for without them there would be fewer gentlemen in the world today. Indeed, teachers are the makers of men, as evident today.
As was seen, the Holy Mass opened the heavens and beautifully set the pace for today’s celebration. The procession was decorated by about twelve bishops, before whom were countless numbers of priests from different parts of the country, archdioceses, dioceses, and congregations who had drank and once been fed with the finest wheat gathered from the rich and inexhaustible garden of the celebrant. Also, the gracious presence of many religious men and women mixed fittingly with distinguished lay ladies and gentlemen who had come with cheerful praise made up the presence of the entire people of God. The homilist, His Lordship, Most Rev. Callistus Valentine Onaga, gave some historical points in the celebrant’s life.
The evidence of a life well lived is found in those who love you. “The legacy of love is all the proof that is needed,” said one good mind. Today, we find countless pieces of evidence that speak of the noble and gracious life of Rev. Fr. Prof. Peter Damian, who was 80 and counting. The evidence was recorded by all: clergy and lay, young and old, far and near. It is indeed a legacy of love and fruitfulness seen in the life of Fr. Peter Damian, whose shoulders carry intimidating feats of excellence and experience at home and abroad. Anyone who had been present at this celebration would wonder: “What manner of man is it that he could summon such a class of men and women from all spheres of life and from different sands of the world?” In fact, eighty years must be very proud and privileged to associate itself with Fr. P.D.
At the end, the Tansi family thanks God, especially for the success of this grand celebration. We thank the celebrant for agreeing to be celebrated. We reverently offer thanks to the archbishops and bishops for their rewarding presence. To the many priests, religious, and laymen, we say a hearty “thank you” for coming to Tansi in honor of the Patriarch. Lastly, we thank our amazing seminarians for their doggedness through and through. May God, as always, keep us all in his love. Amen.
Happy Belated Birthday, Fr. P.D.
Happy birthday, revered teacher and formator!
Happy Belated Birthday, the Favored One!
keep glowing from all sides!
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