Inside embattled Father Mbaka’s new Parish!

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The routine transfer of over 500 priests in the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, which saw fiery Fr. Ejike Mbaka leave Christ the King Parish,CKP,GRA, Enugu, for Our Lady of Rosary,OLR,Emene,Enugu,penultimate Saturday,elicited reactions from Mbaka,his flock,the All Progressives Congress,APC, and the national leadership of the Catholic Secretariat. After holding the forte at Christ the King Parish, CKP, of the Catholic Church since 1996,Fr. Ejike Mbaka, received his transfer notice with effect from January 30. He had established the famous Adoration Ministry renowned for charity,healing,deliverance and pastoral efficacy over the 20 years stint at the parish including other beverage product brands that earned consumer acceptance following the belief that its consumption had healing powers. The Adoration Ministry, since inception, grew in leaps and bounds with torrents of testimonies which transformed it to a Mecca of sorts for individuals and groups including politicians who sought Mbaka’s blessings at election periods. Consequently, the KP became the most popular parish in the Enugu Diocese. No wonder, when the time came for him to leave the parish for the OLR parish, Mbaka, in an exercise laced with emotions,was escorted by thousands of the Catholic faithful. Several vehicles the road in what could be dubbed a triumphal exit that halted economic and other activities along major streets where the long convoy passed. With music provided by some groups, the journey began, amid emotions by members, apparently unsatisfied with the transfer that removed Mbaka from the CKP. The priest had, while addressing the crowd ahead of the movement, expressed reservations over the transfer, which, he said, was calculated to make him suffer by certain leaders of Catholic Church. His words:”I know we are going to suffer between now and few months to come. I am going to suffer and suffer; I know that. I’m going to suffer because I have no place to put my head. I am going to suffer because I have no place to keep the Adoration Ministry’s assets. I know I’m going to suffer. Fortunately, it is going to happen in the month of Lent. So, I am going to use my exit here as a Lenten observance but Jesus said it all in John 16:20 to his apostles that you will be sorrowful and the world will be rejoicing but very soon I will turn your sorrow to joy. “But, for now, I know you are going to suffer. The Adoration Ministry is passing through suffering right now even though I’ve accepted that is the will of God. It is a mega suffering. “The quantum of the assets of the Adoration Ministry is the only thing I am bothered about. Where am I going to keep them? I am going to stay in one small room that has only one small bed, one small table, little toilet and bathroom. So where am I going to keep all the Adoration assets? My clothing and books I can keep in the car or somebody’s house, but where will I keep these assets that I have given to the Catholic Church of Enugu? But I say, may God take the glory and whoever that has offended me, I have forgiven. I won’t fight anybody or even dream of battling anybody. If anybody allows the devil to use him, the same that advised you to make a mistake will laugh at you when you cry over the error. The baby is born, there is no going back. We are moving out. We have been doing it and we will do it again. Moses was going out with a rod in his hand, Mbaka is moving out with his Bible and this nobody can take away from me”. Decrying what he described as “attempt by some persons to politicize the Church”, by feeding the bishop with false information, he noted: “ I am giving God the glory and I welcome the Church’s choice and action with absolute acceptance and obedience. So there is no negation to what God has approved and what the Church suggested. Nobody should see me as a recalcitrant priest. I am not. I have taken an oath of obedience and I stand on it. I pray God to bless all of you who, in one way or the other, have supported the work of God here and those who have sincerely allowed God to use them for the jobs we did here all these years. God will bless the people of God here and reward you according to your labours. The parish is not going to collapse, it is the Church that will continue to grow”. He told the members that their journey to OLR,Emene, where he has been posted as Resident Priest serving fewer than two priests, should be seen as the “journey of the Israelites out of Egypt”. “God has planned a future and hope out of disaster and, where I am going, He will go before me to level the mountain. The Bible says that He will deliver me from all evil; He will keep my going out and coming in both now and forever… I am praying that God will keep His Church and my fellow Adorers so that our journey to Emene will be a journey of Israelites out of Egypt. Some of them were grumbling leaving Egyptian soil because they were having the phobia for the unknown, but I am telling you people as a courageous leader, do not be afraid. We are moving and, in not distant time, you people are going to smile”. The All Progressives Congress, APC, in the meantime, faulted Mbaka’s transfer even as it warned of its security implication. A statement by the South-East APC Caucus spokesman,Osita Okechukwu, alleged that “unseen hands acted on Bishop Callitus Onaga’s discretion that culminated in the decision”. The statement went on: “Whereas we accept that the transfer of priests is a routine exercise of the great Catholic Church, however we do not wholly accept a situation where the Church allows external forces to influence transfer as the Mbaka’s case suggests. Otherwise, future liberation clergy who speak truth to power will be hamstrung to the detriment of the society. “Our major concern is the security implications and the fate of his flocks who are mostly the down trodden who may find it difficult to go to Emene for salvation and healing. We frown at anything which will put Fr. Mbaka in harms way or deny his flocks healing. As a party we have watched with concern and trepidation the criticism, the attack, assault and unpleasant comments hurled against Fr. Mbaka since he providentially prophesied that President Buhari would win the 2015 elections. Even the church did not spare him; he was called unprintable names, yet his prophecy came true. We are happy that Fr Mbaka was vindicated. “It must be pointed out that accusing fingers were pointed at the direction of some anti-Buhari elements like Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a group that didn’t want to hear the name of Buhari; even though Ohanaeze denied the allegation, doubts still persist. For we are still at a loss why a senior priest will be degraded to an assistant parish priest. “We repeat that we are in solidarity with Fr. Mbaka and our major concern is the security of Fr. Mbaka and the suffering of his flocks mostly the poor who need his healing powers. We had thought that His Lordship Bishop Calistus Onaga could have retained him at the Adoration Ground, as the Bishop Emeritus Gbuji did because of security of his life and easy access by his flocks”. When Sunday Vanguard visited the OLR Parish, Emene, Mbaka’s new parish, construction work was ongoing on the road leading to the church by Enugu State Ministry of Works. OLR,situated along the major road,was built in 1997 with a capacity for about 2,000 worshippers. Two duplexes stood as the parish house for priests, fitted with a 500KVA generator, apart from two small generators seen at the engine room. OLR building is about the same size with the CKP. Sunday Vanguard learn that Mbaka’s belongings were already in place at the parish house. But, the question that comes to mind readily, when,juxtaposed with Mbaka’s comment describing the OLR Parish house as one room,with a little bed is, would he be sleeping in all the rooms in the duplexes at the same time? We were raised to believe that Reverend Fathers lead a life of selflessness and celibacy devoid of an eye for material acquisition. How come Mbaka was crying that he was being transferred from his CKP mansion to the OLR Parish with a one room apartment? What happens to his priestly vow of selflessness at ordination?

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