By Ononye VC
Following Archbishop Valerian Okeke’s visit to Hungary in Central Europe for the second visit of Pope Francis to the country last week, Hungarians trooped out to show love to the archbishop in admiration of his personality and amiability.
Trinitas established a link with Onitsha archdiocesan priest Rev. Fr Izunna Okonkwo, who wired the situation report on the archbishop’s visit to Hungary. He was among the archbishop’s entourage.
According to Father Okonkwo, the archbishop, in one of his outings after the pope’s Mass, celebrated a Mass in English for the Catholic community who worshipped in English at the Basilica of St Stephen in the nation’s capital, Budapest. It was on Good Shepherd Sunday.
The archbishop reflected on the Gospel of St John 10:10 from where he derived his episcopal motto, “That they may have life and have it in abundance”.
The archbishop reflected on three qualities of a good shepherd, which according to him include knowledge, compassion and love. He emphasised to the congregation that a good shepherd must know how to manage his shepherd (the faithful).
Secondly, he pointed out that a good shepherd must be a compassionate person and handle the faithful with compassion.
He also emphasised love, which he explained is the greatest of all. Without love, he said, all other conditions would be difficult to accomplish.
The archbishop called on the faithful to be good shepherds to one another and to continue to demonstrate the love of Christ.
Father Okonkwo further reports that after the Mass, the congregants who came out in their numbers expressed excitement and happiness while others posed for photographs with the archbishop.
Okonkwo said the Catholic community were nationals of different countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.
Some of the people demonstrated eagerness to visit Nigeria on a missionary work following the successful works of other Hungarian missionaries to Nigeria, notably Dr Reka Fodor and her team.
On one occasion in Hungary during the visit, an excited citizen offered the archbishop a horse ride, which the archbishop accepted.
The archbishop mounted the friendly and beautiful horse which took him on a guided ride to the excitement of the owner and others around.
Meanwhile, another report reaching us from Hungary says the leader of the Hungarian humanitarian work in Nigeria, Dr Reka Fodor, was bestowed with an award in recognition of her humanitarian/missionary work in Africa.
Reka Fodor received the Gergely Alexandra Memorial Award in a ceremony in Budapest, which was followed by a Mass at Dabas, where Rev. Fr Izunna Okonkwo delivered a homily.
Trinitas congratulates Dr Reka Fodor on her well-deserved award.