From Wilson Okereke, Afikpo


•Newly installed monsignors in Abakaliki Diocese


Seven catholic priests in the Abakaliki Diocese, Ebonyi State, were recently elevated to the status of monsignor by the Pontif, His Holiness, Pope Francis.

The bishop, Most Rev. Peter Nworie Chukwu officially presented them at St. Theresa Cathedral in Abakaliki, after installation on March 16.

Chukwu said that the profiles of the priests were investigated at the Vatican before seven out of the 11 names he submitted were approved to be honoured as monsignor. He advised those who were not captured to take it in good fate as the same chance might likely come their ways in future: “We are lucky for having scored seven because the number signifies completeness just as God had created the world in six days and rested on the 7th day and when it was the time to choose deacons for the church after the coming of the holy spirit, seven men of good repute were ordained.

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“Today, we have seven quintessential pastors who have been honoured by the Holy Father, Pope Francis as monsignors and with a closer look at each of them, one will find out that they had become priests before I entered Senior Seminary, that is one common thing among them and we are grateful to God.”

He also said that the investiture of the monsignors does not undermine their priestly functions and appealed that they should continue the work with humility.

It was learnt that the priests elevated by Pope courtesy of the bishop’s recommendation have distinguished themselves in their priestly functions, evangelisation and service to humanity

Those installed as monsignors include Rt. Rev. Felix Uchenna Onwukike, Associate Prof. Christopher Makwe Okoro, Rt. Rev. Godwin Oguike Oluoha, Justus Odoemene, Rt. Rev. Gabriel Obazi Owoh, Rt. Rev. Matthew Ekuma Isukpa and Rt. Rev. Prof. Clement Osunwokeh.

One of them. Monsignor Oluoha said that the elevation was prompted by his contribution to the growth of the church in the state and thanked the Pope for reciprocating the effort with the honour.

He advised young priests to obey their vision, be brotherly with their colleagues, be the best of what they are, keep the rules of the community and the church and most importantly, obey the rules of God.

His counterpart, Makwe, told Daily Sun that he has been working in accordance with the dictate of his conscience since April 18, 1971, stressing that the honour was a result of his activities recorded by an agent of God. He also thanked Bishop Chukwu for the recommendation and Pope Francis, for the appointment.