A thank you letter from Fr Mark:

Dear beloved parishioners of St Anthony of Padua,

I express my profound thanks to you all for the welcome I received last weekend. May the Lord continue to bless each one of you and your families. Thank you for all the help sincerely rendered to my predecessors, particularly to my immediate predecessor: Rev. Fr. Pius Duke, MSP. Covid-19 has changed the way we live, work, eat, worship, associate with each other. Indeed, it has changed everything about us. It is with great joy in my heart that I welcome you all to this weekend Eucharistic celebration. Covid-19 has made it impossible for many parishioners to participate in our parish weekly Eucharistic celebration physically. Nevertheless, I am duly informed that several parishioners follow the parish worship virtually.

In those days before the pandemic era, when I see people covering their faces with masks, I used to imagine the level of contamination within the environment that prompted facemasks usage. Our experience today is not based on pollution, but a strange virus known as Covid- 19. The pandemic experience has gripped the whole world with the fear of danger’s death, and our lives are no longer what we expected. We now live in a unique environment with each other. It is strange because the pandemic has changed the course of our history. It has triggered much death, and yet, the end seems not to be near. The year 2020, indeed, has been a “wonderful year”. We hope that the celebration of Christmas that we concluded two weeks ago brings healing to our world.

Despite the pandemic, the Lord Jesus still came into our world and community, into our lives, and our hearts today! He came that we may have life, life in all its fullness, grace upon grace. Like the Wise Men, the Lord invites you to give the homage of your hearts and rejoice because the King of peace is with you now and forever.

As your Parish Priest and Spiritual Director, I invite you to the family of St Anthony of Padua, to collaborate, build and nurture God’s family in our parish. No one should feel that he or she is a stranger. We all have a lot to contribute to the progress of our parish community. As we join hands together to develop our parish, it is my prayer that the joy of the Lord may continue to radiate in your hearts. May you and all your loved ones experience the peace that the birth of the infant King brings into our world. May the closeness of friends, home and family members’ comfort, and the unity of love renew your spirit as we work together. May God bless you and those you hold dear in your heart today and always. Indeed, thank you very much for all your kind welcome. As you continue to kindle the light of Christ in one another and the life of your Priests, may that light, Christ, continue to shine in your home and life.

I wish you the Lord’s blessings of peace and joy.

Thank you, and God bless you.
Rev. Fr. Mark Ehichioya Odion, MSP

A thank you letter from Fr Mark