The Executive Secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Mr. John Kennedy Opara,has honoured Sen. Uche Ekwunife with an appreciation award for sponsoring pilgrims to the Holy Land over the years. Senator Uche Ekwunife is representing Anambra North Central Senatorial District.
While presenting the award to the senator, the Executive Secretary commended and described her as a role model and a woman of substance. In his words, “You are a champion and a role model who people look up to”.
He affirmed that the Commission uses pilgrimage as a tool for moral transformation and spiritual rebirth, adding that people who are spiritually rich but materially poor should be given the opportunity to experience God in the Holy Land.
Mr. Opara informed that the Commission is currently partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture, Israel, and the Hebrew University in Israel on skill acquisition programme for youths who go on pilgrimage in order to empower them to be financially independent, considering the present economic situation of the country.
He urged the awardees not to relent in their good deeds but encourage other well meaning Nigerians to partner with the Commission in sending more Christians on pilgrimage so as to experience God in Israel and affect others positively on their return.
He thanked the recipients for the love they have shown to the Commission and prayed that God would honour them. In his words, “For those who are faithful, the Lord will be faithful. You have been faithful, May God be faithful to you.”
In her response, Sen. Ekwunife commended the Executive Secretary for the diversification of activities which now makes the youths more equipped to earn a living for themselves and the nation, aside the spiritual benefits of pilgrimage. She expressed gratitude to the NCPC work force for the support they have given the Executive Secretary, John Kennedy Opara, through the years of his leadership in the Commission.
She expressed her surprise and delight to receive the noble honour bestowed on her by the NCPC boss and promised to expand the scope of pilgrims she sponsors on pilgrimage as soon as the economy gets better. She encouraged her colleagues to ensure that their constituents are sponsored to go on pilgrimage.
Mrs. Comfort Mary Edewor of St. Anthony of Padua who was also awarded, commended the Executive Secretary for his efficiency in the Commission in ensuring hitch- free pilgrimages to Israel.
She affirmed that as a result of testimonies from members of the St Anthony sodality who went on the just concluded youth pilgrimage, a lot of people from other sodalities are presently indicating interest in pilgrimage.