AHIAZU-MBAISE, NIGERIA -
Late Professor Celestine Onwuliri has been described as a virtuous man whose exemplary life of simplicity and love makes him a candidate of future sainthood.
This remark was made by the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama in his homily at the funeral Mass for the late professor at St. Jude’s Catholic Church, Amuzi, Ahiazu-Mbaise, Imo State, last weekend.
Archbishop Kaigama declared: “If ever a list of dedicated lay persons is being compiled in Nigeria for beatification, Professor Onwuliri’s name should be part of it, for he was a true son of the Church and a man of great faith. One convincing sign about the uniqueness of Prof. Onwuliri is the fact that while the accident resulted in the dismembering of persons on board, his body was found intact, as if he was sleeping.”
Commending the exemplary life of the late former Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Archbishop Kaigama said: “We gather here today in the conviction of our faith and not in mournful desperation to salute a worthy son of the Church, the late Prof. Onwuliri whose life was fruitful, impactful and godly and who was happily married to an equally worthy daughter of the Church, Prof. Viola Onwuliri.” He continued; “Their service to the Church and the civil society as a Catholic couple was with uncommon selflessness.”
The homilist outlining the Christian life of the deceased noted that his life could be summarized that; “Prof. Onwuliri was a man of faith, who was uncompromising in his Catholic and identity; a man of the family, who gave concrete expression to the notion of a domestic Church and a Patriotic Nigerian to the core” who empowered the youth and the underprivileged and his relationship has no ethnic or religious bound.
Archbishop Kaigama noted that Prof Onwuliri always put God first in all things and not mere religious externalism. Speaking on the mystery of life, the homilist noted that there are three things which cannot be changed in life by man. These are: birth, sickness and death adding: “There is no medicine for death or nay scientific innovation to stop it. The only effective medicine is faith in Jesus who says: Truly I say to you , he who believes has eternal life….”
While commiserating with the widow, children and members of the immediate family of the deceased; and the Knights of St. John International, which the late professor was its Supreme Subordinate President, Archbishop Kaigama concluded; “ Prof. Onwuliri sought the Lord and used his talents, time and resources well. He fought the good fight of faith and served his Church and country very much to the end.”