Rev. Fr. Boniface Okafor Celebrates 25th Priestly Ordination Anniversary

By Polycarp Ifeanyi, Onitsha

The Catholic community of St. Charles Borromeo Specialist Hospital chaplaincy, Onitsha Anambra State joyfully converged en masse at chaplaincy premises and celebrated with Rev. Fr. Boniface Okafor on his 25th year anniversary of priesthood.

Rev. Fr. Boniface Okafor fondly called “Bonagai” is the principal Chaplaincy of St. Charles Borromeo Specialist Hospital, Onitsha and has served in numerous Catholic parishes as Vicar and Parish Priest across Onitsha Catholic Archdiocese.

The anniversary ceremony attracted the presence of  Metropolitan  Archbishop of Onitsha, His Grace, Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke represented by the coordinator, Health Services of Onitsha Archdiocese and Vice Chancellor of Onitsha Catholic Archdiocese, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Basil Ekwunife, notable priests, Religious, friends and relations, amongst other.

In his homily to mark the anniversary, Rev. Fr. Nobert Chilota described Rev. Fr. Boniface Okafor as a Catholic Priest which he said is a special gift from God to those who were ordained  Catholic Priest.

“If to become a Catholic Priest is a gift from human being, everybody would have ordained as Catholic Priest but only God Himself knows who to choose to become a priest” 

The cleric appreciated God in a special way for the life of Fr. Boniface Okafor for the past 25 years and all Catholic Priests, noting that gratitude without expressing it is not completed, even as he explained that Fr. Boniface Okafor is someone who has listening ear, compassionate, caring, humble, self respect and discharge  his duties diligently.  

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Testifying the life of Fr. Boniface Okafor, the CEO of St. Charles Borromeo Specialist Hospital, Onitsha,  Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Izunna Okonkwo said that he knew him when he was in junior Seminary, saying that he had seen a lot of talents in Fr. Boniface Okafor right from his Seminary days up to the time he was ordained Catholic priest in 1998.

” I have seen Fr. Boniface Okafor as somebody who believed that he is called and I think he is really called to be a Priest and he is convinced in what he is doing because one of the problems we are having in priesthood not just in Nigeria, but also in the other part of the world is that some of those who believed that they are called no more believed in what she or he is doing. And this invariably affects in what the person is doing” 

He reiterated that Fr. Boniface Okafor believed that he is called and believed in what he is doing and  convinced in what he is doing which he said people around him affected positively.

The clergy further affirmed that Fr. Boniface Okafor is  someone who is compassionate, loving, caring, humble, prayerful and generous, adding that he makes things work holistically both spiritually, religiously and socially.

“I think Fr. Boniface is really a jolly good fellow. He rapour well with priests, lay men and women irrespective of age variation. Fr. Izunna concluded.

Speaking with newsmen, the celebrant, Rev. Fr. Boniface Okafor described his experiences over 25 years in Priesthood as enjoying the Glorious and sorrows of Priesthood, saying that Priesthood has a glorious aspect and a victimhood  aspect of it.

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He explained that Priests were ordained in the images of Christ who is both the Priest, and victim,  he who sacrifices and he who is being sacrificed at the altar.

” It has been pleasant experiences and sometimes crosses are there but I have been exercising patience with hope that the rewards that to be received would not be achieved on Earth. There are crosses there but I am really happy living my life as a Priest” 

He promised to be faithful to Catholic Church and continue to live out his Priestly vows, obedient, poverty and chastity as well as committed to the assignment that has been assigned to him by leading people of God to Christ.

He averred that Priesthood is a noble vocation, urging those who are aspiring  to become Catholic Priest  to continue to make efforts until they answer the call, just as he eulogized Archbishop Valerian Okeke, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Izunna Okonkwo, staff and management of St. Charles Borromeo Specialist Hospital Onitsha and all and sundry who graced his Priestly anniversary ceremony.

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