THE TIDES OF GRACE : SEND – OFF CEREMONY OF FR. RAPHAEL EZEOGU.
Today leaves us jostling between gladness and sadness. Glad that grace has identified one of our priest-formators Rev. Fr. Dr. Raphael Ezeogu who has been appointed the Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi. On the other hand, we are sad because only when we began to enjoy his presence and all that come with it that he was called back to his diocese after staying just one year in the seminary. “Why so soon?” “The Master needs’ him came the reply. Lk 19: 31. Thus, the Blessed Iwene Tansi Major Seminary-family, Onitsha invited him for a solemn ritual, a send-off celebration which began with the Holy Mass with him at the tail of the procession. At homily, having discovered how the first reading which providentially represents a send off message, he therefore in line with the gospel reading exhorted us on the greatness of prayers thus he said: “Prayer is the only existential option we have that makes us able to communicate with God whose presence his majestic and glorious. Do not make prayers an empty venture or a sterile adventure. In prayers perspective changes, mannerism changes.” At the end, he spurred us to learn the acts of prayer.
The second phase of the celebration gave us the opportunity to give testimonies of his personality and to appreciate him for the gift of his presence and sacrifices. Thus, we represented our testimonies with dances, with songs, with sound of drums, with gratitude and with prayers. If only these could keep him, they would be enough. But the ‘Master needs him’ most.
In his vote of thanks, he acknowledged the love shown him by his co-formators and spoke of the peace he enjoyed here at Blessed Iwene Tansi Major Seminary, Onitsha. He noted that it was indeed a formative and gracious one year for him here at Tansi but that obedience to God through His Bishop is the hallmark of a priest. Therefore in describing his submission to God’s will and obedience to his bishop. He borrowed the words of the iconic late Mrs. Dora Akunyili, who said in an interview in response to what she would make of her career after her tenure as the Director-General of NAFDAC. She said that she would follow “the tides of grace.” Thus, Fr. Ralph said that while he follows the tides of grace, he admonished us to keep faith and enjoy the Eucharistic Jesus.
While we keep him in our prayers, we are confident that the positive impact he made on us and on our seminary will keep his memory evergreen!
Dear Fr. Ralph Ezeogu, may God’s wisdom guide you wisely in your words and action and guard you with her glory. (Wis. 9:11) Amen.
HOMO VIVENS GLORIA DEI