By Ekemini Raymond
The death of a beloved is usually accompanied by sorrow and mourning by friends and family members of the departed, though to the believers and Christians, death is seen as a transition into another life.
Such was the mood recently among members of the Catholic Arch Diocese of Calabar, when the remains of Rev.Fr. Francis Patrick Obong was committed to mother earth at the cathedral church at Egerton, Calabar.
The funeral mass which preceded the interment was presided over by the Metropolitan Arch Bishop of Calabar Arch-Diocese, Most Rev .Dr. Joseph Ekuwem, assisted by other numerous priests present.
In his homily, Arch- Bishop Ekuwem described the death of Fr. Obong, as a great loss to the entire diocese, and to the province at large. Describing the departed priest as one who was always committed in all his duties, even though his life was too short on earth, but it is the will of God to call him at this point in time to eternity.
Ekuwem challenged all present to see the death of Fr. Obong as an opportunity for them to reflect on their life, and make amends where necessary, as it could be anybody and at anytime. Earlier during the vigil mass in his honour, Rev.Fr. Charlse Etim, the Chancellor of the Arch-Diocese, attributed the death of Fr. Obong at such a tender age to the non availability of a church owned clinic where priests can have their privacy, and can always go for their check-up routinely.
In his word he said “Let the death of Fr. Obong serve as a challenge to the entire Arch-Diocese to think of owning at least a clinic where priests can have their privacy and go for their regular check up daily, because if such had existed before now, he continued, Fr. Obong may not have died’.
He called on all present to always take their medical check-up seriously, as it is the responsibility of all to take care of the life given to us by God, in order to actualize the purpose for which we were all created.
Shortly after the funeral mass followed an interment, at the priests cemetery, at the cathedral church. Late Fr.Obong is said to be in his early fifties, and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1991 for the then diocese of Calabar, and since then has served in more than ten parishes within and outside the country.
His last parish was Holy Family Parish, Big Qua, where he gave up the ghost. The last time a priest was buried in the Arch-Diocese of Calabar was in 2013.
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