My family is one of the first families that became Christians in Nigeria. In 1944, we had already a priest (Bishop Mark Unegbu) in the family. In 1948, we had the second priest (Msgr Edward Nwafo of CKC Aba).
In 1930, a family member, the elder brother to Bishop Mark Unegbu, called Ezekiel Unegbu was already a teacher of a Catholic school at Onitsha. He was one of the first non Onitsha indigenes to own a house in Onitsha at a place known today as Ozomagana street.
When the first secondary school was being contributed for in Onitsha the name of mazi Ezekiel Unegbu appeared as one of the donors who redeemed his pledge. I was happy to see his name in the archives of the Holy Ghost Fathers in Chevilly-Larue Paris France in 2007.
My family was one of the first across Nigeria or at least in Igboland where the entire extended family became Christians/ Catholics.
Interestingly, none of them became Chrstian/ Catholic because of signs and miracles.
I cannot remember anyone I have come close to who had/ has the kind of faith and conviction Bishop Mark Unegbu, Msgr Edward Nwafo or dad had.
As a seminarian I spent my holidays either at home, at Owerri with Bishop Unegbu or at Aba with Msgr Nwafo.
My dad donated generously to many church projects but in secret. He taught me that charity to anyone should be done in secret. He was totally against “prosperity gospel”.
Despite their strong religious faith, they were critical people.
When Bishop Unegbu was retired as a Bishop, one popular Catholic priest came to Assumpta to perform a crusade or so. Bishop Unegbu heard everything that they said and did from his house. He was very sad.
When I visited him a few days after that crusade/ “adoration” he complained bitterly. He kept on asking: “what has the Church turned into?” “Why have Catholic priests joined in this madness?”
The question remains, if these family members of mine were strong believers yet were totally against the so-called prosperity gospel, what really motivated them as Chrstians?
I am asking this question because many of us seem to have concluded today that christianity without prosperity gospel is empty and even worthless. Remove prosperity gospel, majority will stop being Christians.
I ask again: what really motivated our parents, grandparents and relatives who did not witness the present prosperity gospel and yet were strong christian believers?
Any day we find the answers to this question, we have understood the christian faith that was brought to Nigeria by the missionaries. I mean that christian faith that contributed to the economic, scientific and technological development of Europe. That will be the day many of the fake preachers will go and look for work.