EJEME-ANIOGOR in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State is renowned for playing host to St. Felix Catholic Seminary. As such, numerous priests, especially in Issele-Uku Diocese, passed through the school.
In most places where such facilities are located, they are mostly appreciated more by outsiders. So, it was a thing of joy to hear that a priest known for his vibrancy and rich knowledge of theology and contemporary activities, Rev. Fr. John Konyeke, is celebrating the 15th anniversary of his ordination, and at no other place but the mostly agrarian community of Ejeme-Aniogor, host to the seminary.
I knew Fr. Konyeke in the year, 2010 when he was posted to be in charge of Catholic Church of the Ascension, Asaba. My family was worshipping at Catholic Church of Assumption (Zappa), Asaba until the creation of an outstation which eventually gave birth to Catholic Church of Ascension and Rev. Fr John Konyeke became the first Parish Priest.
Mathematically, Fr. Konyeke was just three years in the priesthood when he was sent to Asaba. To say that God used him to build His Church is an understatement. Within his few years at the Ascension, a befitting place of worship was built for the Lord and a Parish House was also built; and of course, the Church was always filled to capacity because of the soul-lifting homilies and down-to-earth interpersonal relationship with the parishioners. There was hardly any parishioner that the parish priest did not know by name or where they resided!
Indeed, my residence was one of the very first that he visited when he arrived Asaba. It was the period that we lost our daughter, Stella-Maris Chukwufunimnenya Egugbo. He did not only encourage us but became a regular visitor to our house; and when we eventually opened a school, which was established in memory of our daughter, he led other priests to celebrate the first Holy Mass at the school, Maris Schools, Amachai in Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State. Till date, he is the Spiritual Adviser of the school and most times, the Spiritual Father at the annual Maris Public Service Lecture (a memorial lecture that holds every Wednesday before Easter Sunday).
As a priest, Fr John is always available.
Rev. Fr Konyeke moved from Catholic Church of the Ascension to St. John Bosco Catholic Church, Asaba where again God used him to erect the tallest building of worship today in Asaba.
Needless to say, Father had great plans on how to utilise the land with beautiful riverbank scenery but God had another plan for him. He was soon sent by the Issele-Uku Diocese to Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port-Harcourt, for further studies.
Today, Fr. Konyeke is a student. So, he is celebrating his 15th anniversary of his priestly ordination as a student! Where will be the best place for a priest who is not in charge of any parish to celebrate? Home!
Fr. Konyeke is celebrating at his home town, Ejeme-Aniogor. He will tell you that “aka Chukwu dia” because man’s ways are not the way of God.
The choice of taking the ceremony to his home town has been lauded because it will encourage more people to embrace the vocation. Let the people know that it is possible to be called by God to serve Christ and the Church through the reception of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
“As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, the priest serves the faithful by building up and guiding the Church in the name of Christ, who is head of the body. A priest makes a lifelong promise of celibacy and obedience to a bishop or religious superior.”
Rev. Fr. John Maduabunechukwu Konyeke is a Catholic Priest whose pastoral responsibilities at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Agbor – as well as being Curate and Priest in charge of Catholic Church of the Ascension Asaba and, later, St. John Bosco Catholic Church, also in Asaba – has attracted a lot of Christians and and people of diverse religious persuasion who got converted to the Catholic Faith.
His passion for the work of God is legendary.
Father Konyeke, as he is fondly called by parishioners, hails from Ejeme-Aniogor in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State. He attended Ekuku-Agbor Grammar School Agbor, Ejeme Mixed Secondary School, Ejeme-Aniogor, St. Felix Minor Seminary, Ejeme-Aniogor; St. John of the Cross Spiritual Year Seminary, Ekpoma, Edo State.
He also attended SS Peter and Paul Major Seminary, Bodija, Ibadan, Federal College of Education Technical and presently, studying for MTh Pastoral Theology at the Catholic Institute for West Africa (CIWA), Port-Harcourt.
2008 – 2014: Assistant Vocation Director of Issele-Uku Diocese;
2008 – 2010: Regional Chaplain, Agbor Regional Choir;
2009 – 2010: Confessor for The Religious in Agbor;
2010 – 2020: Co-ordinator, Pontifical Missionary Union;
2010 – 2020: Director, Pontifical Mission Societies;
2014 – 2020: Vocation Director of Issele-Uku Diocese;
2014 – Teacher (St Patrick’s College, Asaba) under the Diocesan School Apostolate.
SEMINARY RESPONSIBILITIES: Student Secretary, SS Peter & Paul, Bodija; Assistant Bookshop Manager, SS Peter & Paul, Bodija; Assistant Games Prefect, SS Peter & Paul, Bodija; Student Head, Department of Library, SS Peter & Paul, Bodija.
Books by our Spiritual Father of the Day include the following:-
Konyeke, J.M. (2017): The Pilgrims’ Guide: Catholic Archdiocese of Benin Printing Press;
Konyeke, J.M. (2012); Mary: The Indispensable Mother Of The Church; DE-MASTERS IN DIGITAL PRINTS, Asaba.
Audio CD on reflection on the 20 decades of the Holy Rosary.
Fr Konyeke’s hobbies include Tennis, Traveling, Reading.
This anniversary celebration is expected to attract people from different places to Ejeme-Aniogor and will be chaired by a man popularly known as “God-made Billionaire,” Chief Augustus Boaz El-Bethel, the Owelle of Ejeme Kingdom. El-Bethel is the Chairman, Energy Giants Group, United States of America.
A former Head of Service, Delta State, Sir Okey Ofili, will be Father of the Day and HRM Patricia Uju Onyia, Queen Of Odekpe Kingdom, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State is Mother of the Day.
Already, traditional rulers of Ejeme-Aniogor and Ejeme-Unor Kingdoms, HRM Anthony Onwelikwu Ogboli and HRM Obi Godwin Nzemeke, respectively, have assured Fr. Konyeke that they will attend the ceremony.
The anniversary celebration is the talk of the town. Different religious dance groups from Asaba to Agbor have indicated interest to entertain guests at the occasion, while a renowned musician, Sir Deskenny will also feature in a live performance.
There are other musicians whose names could not be confirmed at the time of writing this piece, but a notable face in Nollywood, Emma Umeh and an events manager, Stephen Nweke (Stephen Lavoski) will anchor the programme.
To Fr. Konyeke, nonetheless, the overriding goal is evangelism, that is, winning souls for our Lord Jesus Christ.