By Obas Esiedesa
For parishioners of Holy Ghost Catholic Parish Kpeyegi, Abuja, last Sunday was a special day as they celebrated the parish Catechist, Mr. Elisha Shamaki who graduated from the St. Joseph Mukasa Catechetical Training Centre, Mulumfashi, Katsina State.
Shamaki who had worked in the church for several years before embarking on the journey to formerly acquire education two years ago graduated with distinction.
Speaking at an event in the church to mark the occasion, the Parish Priest, Reverend Father Emmanuel Ejimonu praised the Shamaki for making the parish proud with his performance.
He said the feat, which was the first of its kind in the parish showed that the parish which was created less than five years ago was growing.
He said: “Development is a continuous process. So as a parish once upon a time we were feeding on milk, now we are beginning to chew bones and that is greater responsibility. So we are grateful that we have catechist who has graduated and he graduated with distinction. He made an excellent grade and it is a thing of joy”.
He explained that the Abuja Archdiocese has a policy which ensures that catechists are trained by parishes.
“Even while the catechist is on training, the parish too must be paying the catechist his salaries. It is like being on study leave. When you graduate it like elevation. Now that he has graduated, he can be posted to any parish tomorrow”, he added.
He said the parish has also offered the catechist a scholarship to further his education if he is interested.
Speaking on the importance of education and skill acquisition, the priest said: “Good education has no substitute. If you are not educated you have been shortchanged. You must understand that education is either formal or informal.
“The person who did not have the opportunity to acquire formal education should be given the opportunity to acquire informal education”.
He stressed that with the present economic climate in the country, formal education is no longer enough to guarantee a steady income, noting that is important for graduates to also acquire other skills.
“That is why I am insisting that no one should by idle because when people are idle, they are easily manipulated. When people are idle they think that the problem they have is caused be somebody. But when people are meaningfully engaged, they will find fulfillment in their lives”, he stated.
Fr. Ejimonu disclosed that about 56 parishioners have enrolled in the parish skill acquision programme.
He also disclosed that the beneficiaries would not the cost of the training as it is free of charge for them.
“All we require from them is commitment and respect for their trainers”, he said.
He said those who excel in their trainings would be empowered for implement their skills.
He urged parishioners to remain hopeful especially in this season of Advent when Catholics look forward in joyful hope “to celebrate the dawn our salvation, which was the coming of God into human history”.
The chairman of the event, Sir PMC Anih praised the Catechist for his performance, saying “it means that the money spent on him is not a waste”.
Also speaking at the event, the elated Catechist, Elisha Shamaki expressed joy at having completed his studies, saying I hoped to bring to his work and service of the parish what he learnt in school.
He thanked the parishioners and the priests for supporting him and ensuring that he came out successfully.