Church renames Stella Oduah ‘Veronica of our time

nigeria-stella-oduahYou might be conversant with the story of Veronica who occupies the centerpiece of the 6th Station of the Cross-, a prayer often prominent during the Lenten period among the Catholics, Anglicans and some other orthodox churches.

Though some scholars doubt the authenticity of St. Veronica and her action because it was not expressly stated in the New Testament of the Bible during the Passion of Christ, The Wikipedia noted that according to church tradition, Veronica was moved with pity when she saw Jesus Christ carrying His cross on the way to Golgotha that she wiped the face of Jesus with her veil to ease his suffering and miraculously, the face of Christ appeared on the veil.

The lesson in the legendary story is that Veronica is remembered globally for her good deed and is used as a symbolic name for all who lend a helping hand to others in great need. Talking about good deeds, Sophocles said to be doing good deeds is man’s glorious task on earth. The great Budha also said: “Justas treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind.”

Sallust while underscoring the fruits and strength of good deeds also said: “Neither soldiers nor money can defend a king but only friends won by good deeds, merit and honesty.”

Good deeds attract both earthly and heavenly rewards and so recently, the parishioners of Queen of Apostles Catholic Church, Housing Estate, Fegge, Onitsha gave a resounding testimony on the good deeds of Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah, Nigeria’s former Minister of Aviation and the Senator-elect for Anambra North zone.

It was a Sunday morning and the princess just decided to worship at that church in continuation of her thanksgiving to God and the people for the love they showered on her. The princess and her entourage on entry to the church coincidentally met Rev. Fr. Christopher Onuekwusi, a Catholic priest, who knew much about her and once had several encounters with the princess and her charity works when he was at St. Gregory Catholic Church, Iyiowa Odekpe.

It was during the homily that the cleric literarily lifted the veil off the face of Princess Oduah by cataloguing her footprints to the already excited congregation. He nicknamed Princess Oduah the ‘Great Church Builder’.

Reeling out some of the positive things Oduah had done to touch humanity, he recalled when she distributed more than 20 Hummer buses to youths who wanted to pursue a career in the transportation sector. He recalled activities ranging from scholarships to university students and building of churches.

“She is somebody who feels for the people and wants the progress of all. Payment of school fees, sponsorship of students in the seminary school and rendering assistance to priests. Princess Oduah took after her mother in generosity because I remember that her mother, the late Josephine also paid for my hospital bill when I fell sick many years ago. She has been doing all these before she became minister and she made Nigeria proud with her achievements in the aviation sector,” the cleric said.

The parish priest of the church, Rev. Fr. Innocent Egbunike in his own speech stunned everybody when he called up Princess Oduah for special prayers and later declared her the “Veronica of our own time.”

He said: “We want to make your visit a unique one that you will never forget. The only thing I will promise you is prayer but in the same vein, I am happy that people like you are now joining active politics. I also advise those seeking elective positions to have the interests of the masses at heart on getting there.

“As the chaplain of the Catholic Laity Council in Onitsha Archdiocese, I want to approach your visit here from the spiritual angle. I have thought about how to receive you here as the one who has the welfare of the church and priests at heart. I checked and only one thing came to my mind.

“I think the name Stella was given to you in error. So, after thinking about it, the parish decided to rename you the ‘Veronica’ of our own time. “Veronica was the lady, who wiped the face of Jesus Christ because of the torture inflicted on him by the Jews. You have now taken that position with Veronica by wiping the faces of poor people in our midst. Take politics aside, your foundation has done a lot in this direction.”

At the peak of the ceremony, the parishioners through the parish council and the parish priest presented a souvenir to the princess.

According to the cleric, the gift was in recognition of all her achievements and continuous efforts to better humanity. He maintained that all political office holders should address the problems of the society when they are elected into office.

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