70th Birth Anniversary: Bishop Donatus Akpan Commissions Youth House, Charged Youth To Remain Resilient In The Pursuit Of An Ideal Society


As part of activities to mark the 70th birth anniversary of the Chief Shepherd of the Catholic Diocese of Ogoja, His Lordship, the Most Rev Dr Donatus Akpan, the bishop used the opportunity to commission the Youth House for the Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria CYON, St Thomas Aquinas Parish Igoli-Ogoja.

The event was held on Wednesday, July 3rd 2022 at the parish pavilion.

Commisioning the Youth House, the bishop expressed satisfaction with the commitment and resilience of the youth to have come up with the idea of the house.

He charged the youths not to lose hope despite the seemingly challenges that ravaged us currently, and insisted that as the
hope of the future we all anticipate, the youths must be delibrate and resolute about the things that will sustain the yearnings and aspirations that guarrenttees a better society.

The Bishop used the opportunity to commend the Parish Priest, Rev Fr Dr Peter Obele Abue for his innovations and thoughtfulness to assist the youths realize their dreams.

He thanked the parishioners for coming together to celebrate him and maintained that “what God approves will always come to pass. He attributed the success of the event to God’s approval.

The bishop appreciated the parish’s solidarity and every gift, especially the talents in the youths as displayed during the special rendition, drama and dance.

He used the opportunity to encourage parishioners to continue to support the Church as much as they can. He acknowledged the rapid development going on in the church and held that “I have seen the development in your Church. I see you have quality men and women.
You have a quality pastor and Assistant.

“I thank God for the gift of my life. I thank all of you. I thank all my brother priests. Continue to pray for me that the Lord will grant me the grace to look after you”

Speaking during the event, the Parish Priest and Vicar General Administration of the Diocese, Very Rev Fr Dr Peter Obele Abue, held that “this initiative which is being inaugurated on this 70th birthday of our dear Bishop reminds us all of the dire need of empowerment programmes that benefit underrepresented populations in our society. Above all, the need for such initiatives to be spearheaded by the youth themselves. We hope such programmes could be replicated across the leaps and bounds of our diocese and the country in general”.

On his part, the Parish President, Mr Adie Julius welcomed the Bishop to St Thomas Parish and noted that “70 looks good on you”

He noted that “as we celebrate with you this day, we your children of the great St Thomas Aquinas Parish deem it fit to invite you to bless and open our youth house.

“It may please you to know that our digital Parish Priest, Rev Fr Dr Peter Obele Abue and his amiable Assistant Rev Fr James Aburu for the love and wellbeing of their parishioners, initiated the STAP EPP (St Thomas Aquinas Parish Economic Empowerment Program).

“STAP-EEP is a programme whereby parishioners will access funds to engage in small business enterprises and the cultivation of Agricultural ventures geared towards a targeted population (Parishioners) especially youth and women. The programme will also encourage Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship, promote small businesses and shall be run by the CYON of the parish.

“The AIMS and OBJECTIVES of the programme is basically to build an economic and financial support base for parishioners, encourage entrepreneurial framework and create an avenue for revenue generation for the parish through direct investment projects. Proceeds or profit from these investments shall be remitted to the parish development account where projects are implemented and further support given for diocesan projects.

“The Programme is divided into Four (4) basic ares:

Parishioners who are already engaged in legitimate businesses and have need for expansion will be given soft loans on demand. The interest rate charged is 2% flat rate to encourage more participation with stringent measures for repayment. Proceeds accruing from this shall be re-deployed to the Parish development fund for projects. The term soft loan shall span between 6-10months depending on their needs. Under this loan granting system, we shall encourage Cassava cultivation for those parishioners who are interested and are disposed for farming. Interested members are expected to cluster in five and shall be funded through input financing. Farm inspectors shall supervise and ensure that the farms succeed.

This category engages parishioners in the area of training for small business management while the youth shall be trained free of charge to acquire vocational skills in various areas such as baking of snacks, art works etc. Skills Acquisition training will be done in collaboration with ODAIP ventures.

This is a parish direct investment project which will involve sourcing for raw food stuffs, storing them up during harvest and disposing them at the market when prices have appreciated.

A Bookshop (religious articles) and Provision store has already been opened and shall be operated and supervised by the Parish CYON. The store shall carter for children and adults needs by providing a market for the sale of religious articles, provisions, drinks and food items”.

The event featured cutting of birth anniversary cake, presentation of gifts, group photograph, dance presentation and drama.

In a vote of thanks, the Assistant Parish Priest, Rev Fr James Aburu, thanked the bishop for finding time to identify with the parish as he marked his 70th birth anniversary.

He thanked all priests who despite their pastoral schedules found time to identify with the parish. Special mention was made of the Parish Priest, Rev Fr Peter Obele Abue, who is futuristic is in his thinking, and the leadership he has provided. He thanked all parishioners for the sacrifices made and for coming out to celebrate the bishop.


Development Consultant, Writer, Editor-In-Chief/Publisher @theluminenews.com, Public/ Motivational Speaker, Public Affairs Analyst/Commentator, Social Mobilizer of high repute.

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