Home Religion NEW VIRGIN MARY’S GROTTO IN MBAISE 

NEW VIRGIN MARY’S GROTTO IN MBAISE 

Parish Priest of Eziala-na-Umuoda, Nguru, Parish, in the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara Mbaise, lays the foundation for a grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary building project initiated and funded by a couple, with support from other parishioners.

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SAMPLE OF A GROTTO BUILDING

Parish Priest of Eziala-na-Umuoda, Nguru, Parish, in the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara Mbaise, lays the foundation for a grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary building project initiated and funded by a couple, with support from other parishioners.

It was a historic event, May 4, 2024, when Reverend Father Isaac Njoku, the Parish Priest of St. Theresa’s Parish, Eziala-na-Umuoda, Nguru, in Ahiara Catholic Diocese, Mbaise, Imo State, carried out the foundation laying ceremony for the building of a Grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, initiated and funded by a couple, Tobias and Edel-Quinn Agbaegbu, from Umuoda . The building is situated beside the church building in the parish. Grottos which dated back to centuries ago refer, almost exclusively to buildings or shrines where statues of saints, and especially, the Virgin Mary are placed for devotional purposes.

When the grotto foundation laying ceremony was taking place at the Eziala-na-Umuoda Parish, excited parishioners who graced the occasion clapped and shouted ‘glory to Jesus, honour to Mary’, as the priest prayed and symbolically mixed cement, sand and water to symbolize the foundation laying ceremony. The Priest thereafter, authorized commencement of construction work at the site.

At the foundation laying ceremony, Fr. Njoku who was assisted by the Assistant Parish Priest, Rev Fr. Christian Nzewuji, spoke of the need to honour the Blessed Virgin Mary whom he referred to as the mother of the Church. He assured that prayers offered through Mary, is a sure bet to success in human endeavors.  

PARISH PRIEST LAYING FOUNDATION FOR THE GROTTO

The Assistant Parish priest enlivened the occasion with readings from the Scriptures, Genesis, chapter 28: 28, which reads; ‘’this stone that I have set up as a sacred pillar will be the house of God. Of everything you give me, I will return a tenth part to you without fail. ‘’

While the ceremony was going on, the Catechist, Sir. Charles Anyanwu, a Knight of St. Mulumba of the Catholic church, recounted a dream he had on the eve of the foundation laying ceremony. He reported that in his dream, he saw late Chief L.U. Ugoh, a parishioner and community leader from Ezialakohu village, widely acknowledged as the initiator of the Mariam Movement in Ahiara Diocese. He said that Ugoh was, accompanied by another man whom he was unable to identify. In his narration, he said that late Mr. Ugoh took him to a spot within the church premises and told him that “he came with a project that he wants to execute in the church.”

One of the mysteries in the message was that  the Catechist had no pre-information that the foundation laying ceremony was going take place on that day. Another was that the late Ugoh was synonymous with Mariam movement in the Diocese and a strong devotee to the Blessed Virgin Mary while alive. That perhaps could explain why Ugo was divinely chosen to deliver the good news to the Catechist, few hours before the Grotto foundation laying.

The mystery of the dream raises a valid question : does it imply divine approval of the Grotto Project in the Parish? In a way, what played out could be likened to the annunciation of the Parish Grotto to Sir Anyanwu by late Mr. Ugoh of the blessed memory.

Edel-Quinn Agbaegbu, a parishioner and initiator of the grotto project believes The dream was a ‘’divine visitation indeed and a great wonder and true sign of divine approval of the Grotto project’’. The Catechist, Anyanwu shares the same belief, and explained that he was deeply amazed at the turn of events. He emphasized the relevance of the dream to the ceremony stated that he is ‘’quite convinced that the event is divine and that mother Mary is happy with the grotto building project’’.  

The foundation laying ceremony was witnessed by Tobs Agbaegbu, Publisher of Verbatim Media Group, his wife, Edel-Queen Agbaegbu, the initiator and brain behind the grotto project, the Parish Catechist, Charles Anyanwu and representatives of the Catholic Women Organization, CWO, in the parish.

MR & MRS TOBS AGBAEGBU WITH THE PARISH PRIEST AND HIS ASSISTANT

As at press time last week, the building project has reached advanced state. Blocks have been laid up to decking level and an elevation inside the building where the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary will be positioned has been erected. Expectations are that the building project will be completed and commissioned very soon.

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