Ordination of new Abakaliki Bishop: Umahi gives medical varsity to Bishops


The new Bishop of Catholic Church of Abakaliki Diocese, Ebonyi State, Most Reverend Father Peter Nworie Chukwu has been consecrated  to take over from Michael Okoro who recently attained retirement age.

The installation service held on Thursday at the Diocesan headquarters, St. Theresa's Cathedral Church, Abakaliki was superintended by the Vatican Ambassador to Nigeria and representative of Pope Francis, Archbishop Antonio Cudio Fillipazi.
In a homilly at the special Mass, Fillipazi called on the Church to always emphasize its image as the family of God, eschew egocentrism but eternalizing sincerity and generosity in service.

He maintained that St. Joseph is the image of a true bishop, and charged the new Bishop, and indeed, all ecclesiastical leaders to assume and sustain their position as the spouse and father to the Church; always ready to.lay down their lives for it's sake as Christ did.

He further  urged the new bishop to strive to make the Church grow in holiness, even as he remains holy.

Phillipazi also charged the Bishop's predecessor and Bishop Emeritus, Okoro,  to continue to offer prayers for the Bishop in particular, and the Church in general while maintaining a relationship with his successor to the edification of the Church.

As part of his consecration rituals, the Bishop was given a ring in his finger as a seal of fidelity and union with the Church; a Bible as the symbol of his mission; a mantle and a Staff as symbols of authority for his pastoral office.

Speaking at the event, Governor David Umahi assured the newly ordained bishop that the government and all Christians in the State would extend to him same level of solidarity and cooperation given to his predecessor.

He commended the Conference of Bishops in Nigeria for their roles in tackling the many challenges in the country, especially insecurity, emphasizing that his administration would continue to seek partnership with the Roman Catholic Church.

Umahi further announced the handover of the recently accredited King David University of Medical Sciences in Uburu, Ohaozara local government area to the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, to own and run.

Umahi said: "The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, incorporated in March 15, 1956, has achieved a lot since its inception.

""I've followed with keen interest the cobtributions of the Catholic community to the development of our country, especially in the  education sector and Security.

"The contributions of the Church to the educational development of Nigeria remained unparalleled, and on behalf of the State, I wish to give the King David University of Medical Sciences to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, to own and run...

"Our government is looking for a partnership with the Church.

" I am not of Catholic extraction, but I believe in the the ethics of the Catholic Church; I believe in the discipline; I believe in the honesty of the  Catholic Church."

In an Episcopal admonition, the President, Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Most Rev. Bishop Augustine Akubueze charged Bishop Chukwu to always uphold the cherished values of the Church, adding:"If there must be changes, it must be for benefit of the Church."

The new Bishop in his inaugural speech maintained that his election and episcopal installation as the Bishop of the diocese was the product of the Holy spirit.

Appreciating all the ArchBishops, Bishops, the Church, family and friends for the tremendous solidarity given to him, he poured encomiums on his predecessor whom he described as his priest and mentor.

According to him, Emeritus Bishop Okoro was ordained on the day of his birth. He later became his Priest who baptized him as well as trained him in priesthood.

Bishop Chukwu specially appreciated the representative of Pope Francis, Fillipazzi, for presiding as the Chief Consecrator at the service.

He pledged to do everything within his reach to justify the confidence reposed in him by the Church, and solicited for the collaboration of other Bishops, all and sundries in the Church "to move the diocese forward and give every one equal opportunity to draw water from the Well of salvation."

Bishop Chukwu who hails from Umuezekoha in Ezza North Local government area of Ebonyi State was ordained a Catholic Priest on July 3, 1993. He is now the 2nd indigenous Bishop of Abakaliki Catholic diocese.

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