The remains of Rev Fr Norbert Okechukwu Ezeh was laid to rest at the cemetery of priests of Nnewi Diocese on Wednesday March 14, 2018, after a requiem Mass at Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral, Nnewi. The funeral Mass was presided over by His Lordship, Most Rev Hilary Okeke and concelebrated by over 250 priests from different dioceses.
Preaching the homily, Msgr Patrick Ezeobata, the Vicar General of Nnewi Diocese, said that death has remained a mystery for all we often see the effects of death, but we cannot understand it fully. He said that no matter how we try to avoid death that we must die as it is a portion for everybody.
The cleric further said that if we follow Jesus and live in union with him, death becomes a glorification for us as it was a glorification for Jesus: “Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23).
He described Fr Norbert as a hardworking, forthright and energetic priest who spoke the truth with zeal and vigour. He said that many people in their tributes described Fr Ezeh as a peacemaker, and an upright, fearless and a zealous priest. He appealed to the people to always remember Fr Ezeh in the Sacrifice of the Mass and prayers and prayed God to reward him with eternal life.
Bishop Okeke in his remarks said that the death of Fr Norbert was a lesson for all to be ready for death and prepare for our own death because it could come at any time, even when we are still very active. He asked God to console the deceased’s family, his parishioners and all touched by his death and equally prayed God to grant him eternal rest.
Fr Hyginus Aghaulor, the chancellor of Nnewi Diocese expressed appreciation to the priests and religious and all who attended the funeral ceremony. He equally expressed gratitude to the many people who contributed to the success of funeral ceremony.
Fr Ernest Okoli read the funeral oration on behalf of Nnewi diocesan presbyterium; while Fr Nathaniel Dile Onwukwe who represented Archbishop Jude Okolo said the Prayer of Absolution and Bishop Okeke did the burial.
Fr Norbert Ezeh was born on June 5, 1955, the first child of Nze James and Theresa Ezeh of Uhuori Village, Ukpor in Nnewi South council area of Anambra State. He received his primary education in Uromi, Edo State where he spent much of his childhood.
Fr Ezeh’s sojourn to the priesthood started in 1970 when he entered the Holy Ghost Juniorate, Ihiala. However, his stay there was short-lived as he was compelled by circumstances to leave the seminary only after one year. He thereafter went into business. He was apprenticed to an uncle whose line of business was selling motor spare parts in Lagos. Not forgetting his intention of becoming a priest, he combined business with education – attending evening classes after business.
He was settled in 1975, and two years later, he handed over his flourishing business to his younger brother and joined the Claretian Congregation. He did his spiritual year training at the Claretian Novitiate, Nekede Owerri and completed his philosophical studies at Bigard Memorial Seminary Ikot Ekpene in 1983. From here he transferred to Ijebu Ode Diocese. He did his Theological studies at Ss Peter and Paul Major Seminary, Bodija Ibadan, from where also he bagged a bachelors in divinity.
He was ordained a deacon for Ijebu Ode Diocese on August 14 1988.
Fr Norbert was later incardinated into Onitsha Archdiocese where he was ordained a Priest on September 18, 1993.
Rev Fr Norbert Ezeh had varying and various pastoral assignments as a parish vicar (St Charles Boromeo, Onitsha 1993-1994); Chaplain Charismatic Renewal Movement (Onitsha Archdiocese, 2000); Parish Priest (St Joseph’s Parish Isseke). Student for Masters and Doctorate degrees (University of Lacrosse, USA, 2002-2005) Chaplain, Military Ordinariate, Boiling AFB, USA, 2008-2012); and Parish Priest (Sacred Heart Parish, Ogbenabo, Okija (2012-death).