The President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Most Rev. Augustine Obiora Akubeze has stated that the Catholic Diocese of Port-Harcourt has made ecclesiastical history with the ordination of the First Auxiliary Bishop for the diocese.
The CBCN President made this remark in his address during the Episcopal Ordination of Most Rev Patrick Eluke at the Corpus Christi Cathedral Port-Harcourt. While congratulating the Bishop of Port-Harcourt Rivers State, Most Rev Camillus Archibong Etokudoh, as well as the Priests, Religious and the entire laity of Port-Harcourt diocese for prayers answered, he noted that “the faithful now have an additional bishop to help in the administration of the sacraments and in the teaching of the faith.” He prayed that “the new appointment will lead to the growth of the faith in Port-Harcourt Diocese.”
Archbishop Akubeze also used the occasion to clarify the process and procedures in the appointment of Bishops. According to him, “we must always keep in mind that the Holy Father freely appoints who he wants as a Bishop. The Holy Father obviously carries out this important work of appointment with assistance from some other authorities. This is why we need to be very grateful to the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Mot Rev. Dr. Antonio Filipazzi. He has the responsibility of ensuring that only candidates who are suitable are recommended to the Holy Father for appointment.” He stated.
The CBCN President who is also the Archbishop of Benin City, while welcoming the new Auxiliary Bishop of Port-Harcourt into the College of Bishops advised him on the need to exercise his ministry under the authority of his diocesan Bishop. “You are therefore called to ensure that you work in accordance with his mind and in accordance with his pastoral plan. The faithful of Port-Harcourt is not entrusted to your care but to the care of Bishop Etokudoh, the Church envisages that he will grant you the necessary latitude to exercise your episcopal ministry with the dignity and respect under his care.” He advised
The Ordination Mass which was conducted by the Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, Most Rev. Antonio Guido Filipazzi had over 45 Bishops of Nigeria in attendance. Also present are dignitaries from both state and Church, including the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Her Excellency Ipalibo Gogo Banigo.
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