By Emeka Mamah
Awka— Awka, the Anambra State capital, came to a standstill penultimate Saturday, as the Catholic Diocese of Awka celebrated the investiture of 19 knights at the St Patrick’s Cathedral in the city.
The awards were approved by the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis on October 22, last year but formerly presented to the awardees by the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship, Paulinus Ezeokafor, assisted by the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese, Most Rev Jonas Okoye at the colourful ceremony.
Four of the awardees including Christian Omembelede, Rev Sister Mary Raphael Theresa Ugonwa Okeke, Lady Theresa Chinyere Azodo and Catechist John Okpala received the “Croce Pro Ecclesia of Pontifice (for the Church and the Pope Award) while Augustine Emenike Ibeme and Lady Pauline Chinwe Ndibe received the “Cavaliere dell’ Ordine di San Gregorio (Knight of St Gregory) and “Dama dell’Ordine di San Silvestro Papa (Lady of St Sylvester) respectively.
However, 13 other awardees including the former National Chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh were decorated as Knights of St Sylvester at the crowded ceremony witnessed by the state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano among other top government functionaries; the Catholic Bishop of Ahiara Diocese, Imo State, Most Rev Peter Okpalaeke; over 130 reverend fathers and 200 reverend sisters and brothers, members of the state and national assemblies as well as captains of industries. All the awardees had either served the church in various capacities or contributed to its growth one way or the other.