By Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)
One of the popular lines in the Liberian National Anthem that is frequently used whenever people refer to the benefits of unity and oneness is that which says, “In union strong success is sure.” People may have different interpretations about this line, but generally, it denotes that whenever a group of people are united and or together for a common purpose, much would be achieved. In other words, when a group of people are focused, work towards a specific goal or project, they are bound to succeed, because of unity of purpose and bring about nothing, other than success.
Incontestably, this spirit of unity, cooperation and peace has been seen at the Saint Kizito Catholic Church in Paynesville, as the church over the years continue to make great strive through the undertaking of meaningful projects, through the collective efforts of its members. The first project was the expansion of the church, followed by the construction of a multi-purpose building, and just yesterday the dedication of the Fr. Robert Tikpor Pre-School, at a well attended program with President Sirleaf, Defense Minister Samukai, former Public Works Minister, Samuel K. Woods and others in attendance.
Personally, when I attended an event at the church several months ago, I acknowledged the strive that had been made at the church, for which I was inspired to write an article about the level of growth and development at the church, especially so when people work together for a common purpose, which always brings about the needed result.
Likewise, the Rev. Father Tikpor in whose honor the school is named has over the years advocated for peace and the importance of unity, as well as integrity, something for which he commands the respect of the Liberian people because of his advocacy for unity, peace and oneness. This is why many were not surprised when he was chosen as the national orator few years ago and spoke on the topic, “In National Unity, We will stand.” In that oration, as was recalled in this year’s Independence Day souvenir program, the octogenarian cautioned against vices that hinder national progress.
The venerable Catholic Prelate then urged Liberians to avoid selfishness and unceasing corruption at the expense of a common national good that the nation’s wealth and resources must not be scattered to the wind by inappropriate national policies but utilized to the benefit of the nation and its people. Father Tikpor at the time said sectionalism, a national menace, should be avoided and we must embrace the present generation with nobler ideals of what makes a nation strong, united and great. He said, “Our people should cultivate the spirit of personal integrity that will help the nation as strong pillars help a multi-storey building”.
Unsurprisingly, because of what has brought about this growth and development at the church, many of those who spoke at yesterday’s service, which coincided with the dedication of the pre-school project, acknowledged the essence of peace and unity among people, as had been demonstrated by members of that church that raised over US$100,000 to have the project completed.
In his homily, Bishop Andrew Karnley of the Diocese of Cape Palmas, stressed the importance of peace, forgiveness, reconciliation and unity. For his part, the head of the Archdiocese of Monrovia, Archbishop Lewis Zeigler praised the people of the church for putting aside their differences and working together, which he noted has contributed to the success of the many undertakings. He said there is always progress in unity than division. In her brief remarks, President Sirleaf, thanked the people of Liberia for keeping the peace, as in peace, much would be achieved.
Once again, the members of this great church have made marks for themselves by undertaking such a great project, more noticeably in honor of someone who deserves it. Today, many of those things achieved at the church can be attributed to the foundation laid by Father Tikpor who headed the church for many years. This honor and recognition by the church is not a mistake, because as it is said, “give a man his flower while he is alive, than when he is dead.” Today, Father Tikpor can smell the flagrance of this flower and know that his work over the years have not been in vain.
I cannot end this piece to say how spellbound I was when I sat in the church alongside seasoned educator Sis. Mary Laurene Browne of the Stella Maris polytechnic, and watched the activities of yesterday’s service, especially the melodious singing in various vernaculars by the church choir, the drumming, cultural dances by the kids and others. Equally, let me hail the parade, outside the church by the Nobel Orders of the Knights and Ladies of St. John International and the Knights and Ladies of Marshall.
Hats off to the people of the church for these great achievements over the years! Thanks for honoring the old man for a job well done, as I am sure others will emulate his good work. Indeed, IN UNION STRONG SUCCESS IS SURE.