A brief History of Okpo Parish
The story of Christianity in Africa is quite similar always with distinctive peculiarities. So, it was, that the Catholic faith (church) in Okpo started off with the effort of few Igbo traders who later left for their homes due to the civil war.
Thereafter, a few indigenes led by Late Alfred Egwu took over the administration of the church. As at this time, the church was located along the market way, but because of the small size of the land, another parcel of land was sought and donated by two gagos whose jurisdiction extended to this location we are today. It is worthy of note that it was tough to evangelise the people such that, gifts of second-handed clothes were given to the members by the visiting priests as inducements and baits for conversion. From this humble beginning, the little faith like mustard seed struggled on.
It came to be known as Okpo/Ogugu Parish in 1976 when Monsignor Grimard appointed Rev. Fr. Levac to oversee Okpo. He lived in Ankpa and began preparatory work on the Father’s House at Okpo. He also started some work on the old church before he left.
Rev. Fr. Duschene took over from him in 1997, and also operated from Ankpa, he eventually started and completed the Father’s House before he left.
The first priest to live in Okpo was Rev. Fr. Dominic Arome. He took over from Fr. Duschene in 1978 and he worked in Okpo till 1979, in January 1980, he was transferred to Dekina and Rev. Fr. Abel Bida took his place.
The stations in Okpo at that time included Okpo, Agala, Eboyi, Agbaduma, Akpakpa, Etutekpe, Otakuhi, Adamaku, Ofa, Ibana, Iberi, Ikeje and Ugoh-Inele, until recently Eboyi and Ikeje were carved out as Independent Missions. In addition to the above, Alagalani and Efofe came on board much later, bringing the total number of stations in Okpo to thirteen.
By 1983, Rev. Fr. Abel Bida had completed the Old church and it was commissioned on 6th November by Most Rev. Dr. E.S. Obot (May his soul rest in peace). The old church served the needs for our worship until Fr. Emmanuel Audu Began the foundation for the new Church. Today, the old church has been restructured by Fr. Sunny Akuh into the Ave-Maria Auditorium (the parish hall).
Priests that have worked in Okpo:
|1||Rev. Fr. Levac||1976|
|2||Rev. Fr. Duschene||1977-1978|
|3||Rev. Fr. Dominic Arome||1978-January 1980|
|4||Rev. Fr. Abel Bida||1980-1984|
|5||Rev. Fr. Clement Onogu||1984-1986|
|6||Rev. Fr. Simeon Adejoh||1986-September 1992
(During his time, Okpo became a fully fledged parish)
|7||Rev. Fr. Charles Mackay||1992-2003|
|8||Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Okoliko||2003-2004|
|9||Rev. Fr. Kizito Edicha||2004-2005|
|10||Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Audu||2005-2010|
|11||Rev. Fr. Dr. Simeon Omale||2010-2013|
|12||Rev. Fr. Cornelius Acholo||Sept. 2013-March 2014|
|13||Rev. Fr. John Aikoye||March 2014-August 2014|
|14||Rev. Fr. Sunny Akuh||2014-till date|
Rev. Fr. Kizito Okeke
Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Okoliko
Rev. Fr. Wilfred Ezemba
Rev. Fr. James Onyilo
Rev. Fr. Gabriel Akeje
Rev. Fr. Louis Odidi
Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Egwu (Pastoral Assistant)
Rev. Fr. Fidelis Offor (Pastoral Assistant)
Rev. Fr. Gabriel Shaibu
Worthy of note are some of the following developmental projects undertaken:
- Fr. Simeon Adejoh started St. Anthony’s Nursery and Primary School
- The convent was built by Rev.Fr. Mackay along with the Catechist house. Fr. Simeon Adejoh roofed the church
- Fr. Emmanuel Audu built the present Father’s House and the foundation/walling of the present Church.
- Fr. Sunny Akuh built the present Church to its present standard and also dedicated it. He also built the grotto of Mary – the Immaculate Conception, St Anthony of Padua’s Shrine, Children play ground, Restructured the old church into the Ave-Maria Parish Auditorium, Separated the mission compound with perimeter fencing and a new entrance, The Calvary Prayer ground, New Security Post, Installed fans in the church and new pews among others.
Our parish has given birth to three parishes, Ogugu, Eboyi, Ikeje and will still expand.
We are hopeful for better thing to come.
OUTSTATIONS IN OUR PARISH.
Our Parish, is made up of the following outstations: St. Clement catholic church Adeh, St,peter’s catholic church Adeh-Iberi, St. Jude’s Catholic Church, ogbagebe, St. Peter catholic church Ibana and St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Etutekpe, Christ the king catholic church Adamaku, St. Francis catholic church Ofa, All saints catholic church Efofe, St, ,Joesph catholic church Agbaduma, St. Peter’s catholic church Akpakpa, St, Sylvesters catholic church Otakuhi, All Saints Catholic church Alaglani,
ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE OF THE PARISH.
The main administrative organogram of the Parish is the Parish Pastoral Laity Council. The council is made up of elected Exco members of the various outstations including the leaders of the various organizations in the outstations. Meetings are held on every second Saturdays of the month 10 as hosted by Zones.
SOCIETIES \ RELIGIOUS GROUPS
The Parish has the following functional religious groups\societies: Catholic Men Organization (C.M.O), Catholic Women Organization (C.W.O), Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (C.Y.O.N), holy childhood association(HCA), Block Rosary, St. Vincent de Paul society, St. Monica(widows) society, Nigeria association of catholic corpers, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Divine mercy devotees, precious blood, Guild of St. Anthony and the Legion of Mary.
The Parochial Feast day is on the 13th of June, Feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, the Patron Saint of the Parish. It is an annual celebration in the Parish.
PASTORAL CUM SPIRITUAL LIFE OF THE PARISH
The Spiritual cum Pastoral Program of the Parish is as follows:
- Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament @ 5:15.m daily
- Morning Masses (weekday Mass) @ 6:00a.m daily
- Sunday Mass in the Parish center @ 6:15a.m&9am
- Sunday Mass in the outstation @ 7am &9am
- Sacramental Confessions: Mondays – Saturdays in the morning after Mass.
- Benediction: Every Sunday after Mass by 5pm
- Infant Baptism: first Saturday of Every Month @ 7:00a.m
- Sick calls: Anytime in cases of emergency. But officially Second Wednesdays and last Wednesdays of the month.
- RCIA (Baptism and First Holy Communion): During the Vigil Mass of Easter and Easter Sundays respectively.
- First Friday of the Month devotion mass of the precious blood by 5pm:
- First Saturday Rosary procession 5.00p.m
- Parish Retreat: Twice in a year: In the Month of June and December.
As at the last sacred returns in 2017, the Parish has an estimated population of about 4,015 Parishioners.
INSTITUTIONS WITHIN THE PARISH
The Parish is blessed with the presence of three Female Religious Congregations
Handmaids of the Holy child Jesus(HHCJ) they run our N/P school
Holy Child Jesus(HCJ) they run the DWKGA, Agbaduma
Holy Rosary sisters(SHRC) they run a clinic in Efofe
We therefore have these three institutions:
- Anthony N/P school okpo
- William Kupiec Girls Academy Agbaduma
- Holy Rosary clinic, Efofe