The Demise of Very Rev. Msgr Dr. Martin Chukwubunna Ezeokoli
The Pallottine Community in Nigeria loses a Companion
The sad news of the demise of Msgr. Dr. Martin Ezeokoli clouded the dioceses of Awka and Ekwulobia and the alumni students of the Federal Polytechnic Oko in the early morning of February 10, 2021.
Msgr. Martin Ezeokoli passed on to Eternal Glory at Regina Celi Hospital Awka, in Anambra State, Nigeria after a brief illness at about 3.00 am on February 10, 2021.
Msgr. Martin Ezeokoli was born on September 10, 1949, at Nkpologwu, within the territory of the newly created Diocese of Ekwulobia in Aguata LGA, Anambra state. He was ordained a Catholic priest on April 17, 1977. As a priest, he worked in many capacities such as Parish Priest, chaplain, diocesan project director, lecturer, etc.
Msgr. Ezeokoli: Pallottine’s Road Map to Nigeria
Msgr. Ezeokoli’s first encounter with the Pallottines was during his studies in Rome. It was through Sr. Clementina (Pallottine Sister, now in Limburg). He embraced the spirituality and the charism of St Vincent Pallotti, and this inspired his ministries when he returned to his diocese, which was then Awka. Without wasting time, Msgr. Ezeokoli introduced Pallotti’s charism at St Augustine Catholic chaplaincy, Federal Polytechnic, Oko Anambra State, where he was serving as the chaplain and lecture in the Polytechnic. With the charism of St Vincent Pallotti, he started a vibrant youth group in the chaplaincy in 1998. This gave birth to a huge group in the institution called “Pallotti-Action-Group,” which exists to date. Its motto is: “Pallotti– For – Action, Action – For – Christ.”
Among the major aims of this Pallotti Group is to help the young catholic male and female students to maintain their catholic faith while in the institution, to abhor ill moral acts like cultism, drugs, etc and to encourage and motivate them in their commitments to serve God.
In 2001, Late Msgr. Ezeokoli invited the then Provincial Rector of Holy Trinity Province, P. Norbert Hannappel, SAC to experience the numerous works and “Actions” of the Pallotti Group. P. Hannapel honoured this invitation with Late P. Peter Hillen, SAC (who came from South Africa). This first visit of Pallottines to the Pallotti Group at St Augustine chaplaincy, Oko motivated the Society to start recruiting candidates for Priestly formation. In 2002, the first Nigerian candidates selected from the Pallotti Group were sent to South Africa for their formation. Among whom is Fr John Ndidi Nwaocha, SAC. To date, we have up to 10 Pallottine Priests who passed through the Pallotti Group of Msgr. Ezeokoli. Till his death, Msgr Ezeokoli was always supporting the Pallottine community in Nigeria.
A man of many talents and generous heart, Msgr. Ezeokoli, popularly known by his students as Fada O di egwu di mma, sponsored lots of indigent students, both Catholics and non-Catholics of Federal Polytechnic, Oko, and other institutions in their studies and skills acquisitions. Many poor families benefited from his generous and loving heart. A lover of education, an adviser, a great mentor, and a motivator, Late Msgr Ezeokoli was able to move along with everyone
Late Msgr Martin Ezeokoli will be buried on Monday, February 15, 2021, after a Requiem Mass at St Joseph Catholic Cathedral, Ekwulobia.
The Pallottine Society all over the World, in particular in Nigeria cannot thank you enough for your enormous sacrifice and effort to bring the Pallottine presence in Nigeria, and to help its growth. May God grant you eternal Repose in His kingdom.
Adieu Msgr Martin Chukwubunna Ezeokoli.
Fr. John Ndidi Nwaocha, SAC