Few hours to the 2021 edition of Maris Annual Public Service Lecture, the Maris Trust Council has revealed the reason behind the choice of the Holy Week as the date for the annual Lecture.
Speaking when he unveiled the profile of the Spiritual Father of the Day, Very Revd Fr. John Konyeke, the Maris Trust Council Secretary, Comrade Fidelis Egugbo, said that the Holy Week, that is, the week before Easter Sunday, is one of the most important weeks in the Christian calendar.
He noted that it was the week that Jesus Christ faced the most agonizing part of His trial and made the supreme sacrifice.
Egugbo noted, “There are lots of factors why the Maris Annual Public Service Lecture holds every Wednesday before Easter Sunday. Apart from the fact that it falls within the period when Stella-Maris in whose memory the lecture was instituted was born, it is the most serious or solemn week in the Christian calendar, following the passion of Christ.
“It is a week you reflect on Man as God’s creation, a week that you reflect on life in a special way and a week that you have to take decision on several issues about life considering what Jesus went through within that week
“It was the week that Jesus Christ was betrayed by His trusted disciple, a week that He prayed so much that sweat came out in form of blood; a week that He was found innocent, yet He was crucified. So, Maris Lecture holds every Wednesday of the Holy Week for us to look at the challenges of our society and proffer solutions to them.
“To the glory of God, it is a solemn and serious period and, every year, He gives us topical issues and serious-minded persons to discuss the topic in the interest of all.
“For this year’s edition, we shall be discussing the topic, “Effective Tax Administration For The Delivery Of Democratic Dividends,” and a tax expert, Chief (Sir) Monday Onyeme who is Chairman, Delta State Internal Revenue Service, will be delivering the lecture.
“To the glory of God also, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Delta State, Peter Mrakpor (SAN); Mr Emeka Anthony Odo, Executive Chairman, Enugu State Internal Revenue Service; Dr. Shefiu Abiodun Muritala, Accountant-General of Lagos State; Hon. (Barr.) Orezi Esievo, Executive Secretary, Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprise Development Agency (DEMSA), and the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Anthony Elekeokwuri are discussing the topic while Dr. Emina is the Moderator.
“The Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, as someone who has made laws in the country and presently in charge of governance in the state, is the Chief Guest of Honour.
“From the successful execution of numerous programmes and projects in the state, and engendering a peaceful atmosphere for such stimulating discourse to take place, Governor Okowa rightly deserves the honour; and, he can also be rightly described as Chief Host as the lecture holds in the Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.
“Furthermore, an Abuja-based private sector operator, Chief Kennedy Kanma, will chair the Lecture while the Managing Director of Hellyncom Eye Clinic, Warri, Dr (Mrs) Comfort Omon-Irabor, is Mother of the Day and Very Revd. Fr. John Konyeke is Spiritual Father of the Day.
“Today, therefore, we unveil Very Rev. Fr. John Konyeke, who is the Spiritual Father of the Day, by way of a brief profile.”
Very 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. Within few months of being in charge of the Catholic Church of the Ascension, a befitting place to worship God was erected, a feat he also achieved at St. John Bosco Catholic Church before he went for further studies at the Catholic Institute for West Africa (CIWA), Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
Fr. 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. 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 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.