Dear Fr. Rothan and parishioners,
GRATITUDE TO ST JOAN OF ARC PARISHIONERS
I am very grateful to you for celebrating my 70th Birthday.
It is a wonderful experience to me and it is the first of its kind. It became clear to me on the 22nd September 2013 as we
came to the venue to see many of you arriving before 1 PM to celebrate the picnic. As the minutes kept trickling, more and
more members kept coming until I could not count the members who arrived. When I looked at the lineup of food and the
people dishing out food into the plates, the Knights in their position dishing out Hamburger and Hotdogs, etcetera. I could
not believe it! Then I was invited by one of the women to come and cut the Cake so they could share it. I went over to be
stunned by 7 cakes, ice cream and decorations. At this time I began to understand what it all means. This indeed is the "70th
Birthday Celebration!" I went back to greet the people dishing out their food, taking their drink and all were rejoicing and
greeting me "Happy 70th Birthday anniversary!"
I looked at you, my dear parishioners, beaming with joy! I went to members in their groups, eating and sharing the joy of
your brother's 70. Some of you asked what do you say, and since I could not understand what they were saying I asked:
WHAT DO YOU SAY? Immediately you (roared/exploded) in song: "Happy-Birth-Day-to-you- -x3-..Dear-Chuuuuuuks, -
Happy-Birth-Day- to-you !" You would not believe it, some of you were pointing out to me Frs. Rothan and Wayne, I could
not separate them from the other people. Then I saw them and went to them, and after exchanging greetings I went back to
the Cake-side and took pictures with the Fathers - Rothan, Wayne and Pius. Then I sat down and looked at Fr. Rothan and
tried to understand what it all means. Then I realized that it is all for the love God has for me and the LOVE EACH OF
YOU HAS FOR ME. It is also the love which each of you has for other members of our Parish.
At the end of the day some of you escorted me towards the Rectory. I carried many gifts from you. I carried also most of the
"Happy Birthday" letters and cards that the students had written to me.
I am very grateful! I say: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, and THANK YOU for your coming to rejoice with me. Thank you
for your gifts, thank you for who you are to me---MY FRIENDS.
I am grateful, thank you.
Chukwubi kem Okpechi,O.P.
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