The Chairman, Title and Culture Commission of the Catholic Arch-Diocese of Onitsha, Rev. Fr. Fidelis Onwudufor made the call Sunday while speaking at the 2014 edition of New Yam Festival of the Igbo Catholic Community held at the Catholic Church of the Ascension, Asaba, Delta State.
“It is your language that identifies you and singles you out,” he said, adding, “when you suppress your language, you suppress your people.”
He empasised that “parents should encourage their children to speak their language, know about your culture and participate in activities that involves your people.”
The Parish Priest of the Catholic Church of the Ascension, Rev. Fr. John Konyeke commended the Igbo Catholic Community for encouraging evangelism with the annual New Yam Festival, observing that New Yam Festival was to thank God for a succesful farming season and encourages unity.
According to Fr. Konyeke, “it is believed that Iwaji (New Yam Festival) strenghtens the bond of oneness and so, he who refuses to eat together with his people is looked upon as dubious and malicious.”
The Father of the Day, Chief F.A. Onwuachu commended the Igbos for celebrating their culture, noting every Igbo man should proudly participate in New Yam Festival.
The President-General of Ndi Igbo, Catholic Church of the Ascension, Hon. Chinedu Ifeacho and the Igwe Ndi Igbo of the Church, HRM Chijioke Ebenighe observed that this year’s celebration witnessed a greater participation by the Igbos from John Bosco, Assumption (Zappa), St. Patrick’s and other Catholic Church in Asaba adding that members of Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, Fegge, Onitsha added colour by participating actively in the celebration.
Ogbu Innocent of St. Michael Gold Ventures stated that the New Yam Festival has become an annual event for the Igbo Catholic Community in Asaba and it is held at the Catholic Church of the Ascension.
The event featured colourful thanksgiving, traditional Igbo dances, eating of the New Yam, among others.