The Immortality of Fr. Martin Usen Akpan

Many a time, if not always, we have been victims of erroneously misleading beliefs and positions in almost all facets of our lives. Many of these beliefs have held us prison-bound; planted in our minds, permanent fears, low self-esteem and wounded pride.  The thought of it gives us nightmares and we always close our minds against discussing such beliefs and positions. The sickening part of it is that we may be forced to culture our lives on a particular trend, depending on the enormity of this belief.
Cross Section of Fr. Martin's Family 
One of such erroneous beliefs is death! We are born, bred and formed to dread the natural phenomenon called death – a state of physical and permanent immobility and decay. Even as scientists, with all the learning that scholarship has provided us with, we have failed to recognise, or at least refused to recognise that death is the natural end of man ‘which will come when it will come.’
Cross section of Priests and Religious 
Unfortunately, when we are greeted with the news and pictures of death, in a mind flooded with sorrows and a heart beating faster than normal, the greetings remind us that one day, we shall also follow. The only sensible consolation we put forth, then, is in a simple prayer that ours should come when we are old – in our small minds, we think that the least we could ever ask for is Long life!
Witnessing Sisters of the Holy Family
But surprisingly enough, Fr. Martin Usen Akpan did not need a long life to recreate on earth an inspiring world of faith, hope and happiness. He did not need a long life to build communities of people who, though lost their faith in God and society, found back themselves and rebuilt the courage to forge ahead. He did not need a long life to set the best records and righteous footsteps for all Christians to follow. And today, again, the 10th of November 2018, Fr. Martin Usen Akpan did not even need life to celebrate his 25th priestly anniversary.
Fr. Charles Effiong, 
the Brain behind the Celebration
On the glittering walls of the new church building named after Saint Hilary at Ekit Itam, Itu Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, an impressive banner of Fr. Martin Akpan greeted the mammoth crowd of the most select nobilities of the State, from the secular and the ecclesiastical worlds, who trooped in at 10 a.m to thank God for a priesthood that death could not defeat.
During Mass,
From the left: Fr. Ukpe, Rector Cardinal Ekandem Seminary, 
Fr. Justin Udoma, Diocesan Media Director and Fr. Charles Effiong.
The function, which was envisioned and designed by Fr. Martin Akpan but executed by Fr. Charles Effiong was divided into three sections: the 25th Anniversary Mass, the inauguration of Rev. Fr. Martin Usen Akpan Foundation and the launching of two books – Spirituality of Discipleship in St Luke’s Gospel by Fr. Martin Akpan and Mystery of the Priesthood of Christ and the Signs of the Time by Fr. Charles Effiong.
Cross Section of  the Congregation
During the Holy Mass, the homilist, Rev. Fr. Dr. Anthony O. Able, observed vividly that Fr. Martin Akpan, though handsome and rich, lived a very humble and non-materialistic life. The Homilist noted that Fr. Martin’s charity and commitment to service were exceptional qualities he personified, and both were worthy legacies to emulate. He recalled the sacrifices Fr. Martin endured during his services to the Church and the passion that drove him in all his endeavours. The Homilist thanked God for Fr. Martin’s accomplished life and prayed that his blessed soul continues to rest in the Lord’s bosom.
Fr. Anthony Abel, the Homilist 
Reacting to all the commendations poured on the memory of Fr. Martin Akpan, the Executive Vice Chairman of the board of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, Mr. Udom Inoyo, thanked the organisers of the function for the excellence achieved in the exercise and promised his total support for the actualization of the dream project of Fr. Martin Akpan for Ekit Itam Parish.
Mr. Udom Inoyo, 
Vice chairman, Exxon Mobil
The Bishop, Most Rev. Dr. John Ayah, who could not make it to the function because of an important pastoral assignment, sent in his paternal blessings which were both spiritual and physical.
A Member of the Witnessing Family
During a Special Rendition

Amidst the vigorous dance steps, the newly composed songs, the beautiful renditions by the choir and the shouts of joy by the jubilant congregation, the celebration ended after an active participation of all the invited guests in the Holy Mass and the launching of the three erudite works. All these were in the sweetest memory of an exceptional priest, Rev. Fr. Martin Usen Akpan.
The Choirmaster, Mr. Raphel Inieh, 
During a Special Rendition 

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