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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

UPDATE FROM THE EPISCOPAL ORDINATION OF BISHOP PETER OKPALEKE



UPDATE FROM THE EPISCOPAL ORDINATION OF BISHOP PETER OKPALEKE
By Uwakwe Chibuike MFC

History was made Tuesday 21st May 2013 as all roads led to Seat of Wisdom Major Seminary Owerri for the Episcopal ordination/consecration of Msgr. Peter Okpaleke. It was perhaps a red-letter day for His Excellency, Most Rev Dr. Peter Okpaleke whose episcopal appointment was rocked by a crises of leadership by the people he is to shepherd.  He was appointed Friday 7th December 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI to shepherd the Church in Ahiara diocese and ever since then, his candidacy for the Episcopal Seat of the Diocese has not been welcomed by the good people of Mbaise.

Reports gathered before now revealed that every attempt made to resolve the crises was met with an unprecedented resistance by the people of Mbaise who are agitating for an indigenous bishop. It was reported that they sealed off their Cathedral premises to forestall the Episcopal ordination/installation of the Bishop-elect. It was alleged that after a peaceful demonstration on black attire around their metropolis, a coffin was dropped near the Cathedral premises signaling danger for whoever tries to force himself on them.
Following this resistance and threat to life, the Episcopal ordination of the Bishop-elect was relocated to the Seat of Wisdom Major Seminary Chapel at Owerri to forestall any form of violence. The ceremony attracted people from all walks of life. The presence of the Church’s hierarchy, the clergy, religious, knights and ladies of the Church, the intelligentsia, Captains of industry and representatives of the government were notably recognized.


In attendance were about twenty-six (26) bishops among whom were Bishops Solomon Amatu (Okigwe), Vincent Ezeonyia (Aba), Augustine Ukwuoma (Orlu), Hilary Okeke (Nnewi), Callistus Onaga (Enugu), Joseph Ekuwem (Uyo), Paulinus Ezeokafor (Awka), Camillus Umoh (Ikot Ekpene), Emmanuel Badejo (Oyo), Matthew Audu (Lafia), Hyacinth Egebo (Bomadi Vicariate), Gabriel Dunia (Auchi) Michael Elue (Iselle-Uku), etc. Nine (9) Archbishops including Archishop A.J.V Obinna (the Principal Consecrator), Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama (President CBCN), Archbishop Valerian Okeke (Onitsha) and Archbishop Brian Udaigwe (Papal Nuncio to Togo and Benin Republic) were also present. The Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Augustine Kasujja and Cardinal John Onaiyekan were also in attendance. It was gathered that many other bishops and Archbishops who planned to be there were frustrated by their flight schedules.

Preaching during the mass, the homilist and Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, Most Rev Lucius Ugorji welcomed and thanked all present for their solidarity. He observed that they gathered for a ceremony that was important for the Church. He confessed that Mbaise, the said Ireland of Africa is a good land blessed with enough human resources both in the clergy, government and education. He also said that the Bishopric is a divine position and is only a gift reserved for the Church. As an unmerited gift, the Church bestows it on whoever the Spirit wants and whenever She wants. As a result, he assured them that Bishop Okpaleke is a good man with an outstanding history of integrity and honour. He thus, advised the people of Mbaise to bury the hatchet and accept Bishop Okpaleke as their local ordinary. He pleaded with them assuring them that Bishop Okpaleke who seems to be the rejected stone now may be their corner stone tomorrow. He made them to understand that his appointment was not an imposition out of bad will but a manifestation of the universality of the Church.  

After the homily, he was however consecrated a Bishop and some priests, religious and laity from Ahiara diocese paid allegiance to him pending when he will take over the canonical possession of the diocese. The ceremony ended with a light refreshment sponsored by the Knights of the Church after the mass.

12 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:12 pm

    The appointment of a Bishop is the sole responsibility of the Pope. The Pope appoints whom he wants to serve as bishop. Mbaise maybe rightly upset with the appointment of Bishop Okpaleke, but until the laws of the church change, the appointment of a Bishop belongs to the supreme pontiff, the Pope. He appoints whom he wants to serve as Bishop. Pope Francis told Archbishop Obinna in unequivocal terms, he will not change the selection. I don’t know Popes to normally change their minds on matters of this nature. Ahiara cannot dictate for Rome. It has never been done anywhere. The church is not democratic. Ahiara is a bad precedent for the entire Igbo Catholicism. I am beginning to see a scenario where the diocese of Ahiara will be suppressed by the Vatican. It will come down to this, accept Bishop Okpalaeke or the diocese of Ahiara will cease to exist. The diocese will be divided up and co-joined with the neighboring dioceses. Ahiara belongs to Rome, and not the other way around. Rome created Ahiara, and Rome can take away Ahiara. It has been done in so many places around the world. Rome continues to fund most dioceses in Africa, including Ahiara. Rome funds the education of Ahiara priests and seminarians, even pays the salary of the Bishop. Ahiara is not a sovereign Catholic Church. Ahiara belongs to the universal Catholic Church. I am sure Ahiara is not seeking to break away from the body of the universal Church.



    The voice of Mbaise people have been heard loud and clear around the world. It is now time to join hands with Bishop Okpaleke to win souls for Christ.

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  2. Anonymous4:03 pm

    As an unmerited gift, the Church bestows it on whoever the Spirit wants and whenever She wants.

    HOLY SPIRIT INDEED

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous10:01 am

    My name is Francesco. I am Catholic. I am Igbo. I am a priest, and I am from Imo State. I have never been so dismayed by what I have seen fellow priests do, but, as the saying goes, history repeats itself. I wonder if anyone in the Old Owerri Diocese still remembers the period between 1982 and early 1987. God bless Bishop Mark Onwuhaa Unegbu of happy Memory for the Cross he had to bear and the unnecessary battles that were put up against him!

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  4. Anonymous2:54 am

    Good for all concern. We need to know that the catholic Church have Leadership and she has a duty to people of God who built those Churches from far and near even gave all they had for the sake of gaining Souls for the Kingdom of God. Many of them did not come from Nigeria neither Iboland nor Mbaise. So the catholic churches every where in the world is the house of God, place for prayer not private property.

    I have to remind us too; that once someone built a church called it catholic house of prayer handed it over the to the church and it is consecrated by the Church official people hands are off for it is God's house, no longer of the person that gave it.

    Even today folks leave their Fatherland pursuing the call of God so that human race can connect and see eye to eye and possibly leave in peace in the world they did not create.I also questions, why peace should not be the order of the day among people that serve the Lord.

    The Lord himself alerted them of leaving peace to them in the Book of John chapt:14, Vs 25-27 "These things have I spoken unto you being yet present with you, but the comforter which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will sent in my name he shall teach you all things,and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I gave unto you; not as the world gaveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be trouble neither let it be afraid..

    Christ peace was given to us forever, why do we so many times try to dwell in anger, and rancor for things that is temporal, forgetting enternity. Please let us embrace peace as the Lord instructed us as people of God. God bless and keep his Holy Catholic church in peace amen!

    MaryEmelda

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  5. Anonymous5:56 pm

    The same Holy Spirit was short-sighted about any priest from the Owerri Province. The same Holy spirit did not see the names late Bishop Chikwe submitted while he was alive. The same Holy Spirit does not know any other priest except if they are from Awka. Check your statistics, Bishops have been appointed from their diocese of incardination except when Anambra priest must be bishop in Imo state or in PH. Holy Spirit indeed"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous5:06 pm

      God bless you for speaking the truth

      Delete
  6. Every Human being, every Christian has the right and duty to speak up against injustice, power-play, and subjugation in the house of God. There are now 5 bishops from Awka and none from Mbaise; there are 15 bishops from Onitsha Province and only 4 from Owerri province... No Mbaise priest is a bishop anywhere in the catholic church even though there are more than 500 catholic priest of Mbaise origin who are very qualified to be a bishop... The Mbaise people are protesting the injustice, power-play, subjugation, and favoritism in the appointment of bishops in Igbo land and in Nigeria in general... ; the one person who is the master-mind of these satanic deeds is cardinal Francis Arinze. Let the truth be told: The Bishopric of Ahiara diocese in Mbaise was used to settle Okpalaeke as one of the Arinze loyal and errand boys. Mbaise people did their rosary and singing procession to show their rejection of Okpalaeke to the Church and to the whole world. Even though the imperialist Prince, Francis Arinze intimidated and pushed the man without balls (Archbishop Obinna) to ordain Okpalaeke as the Titular Bishop Ulakwo, Owerri.
    Okpalaeke stands completely rejected by Mbaise forever and ever, Amen!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You people are so ignorant regarding church laws and tradition... This is not the first time bishop has been rejected by the local faithful both in Nigeria and elsewhere in the catholic world.
    The Canon law, if you know what it is, gives the Local faithful participation in the process of the selection of a local ordinary; Above all, the canon law gives the local faithful the right to give or not to give canonical possession of their diocese to a newly appointed bishop. In this case, the local faithful of Ahiara diocese has decided not to give the canonical possession of their local church to this Okpalaeke guy, and now he is defacto, the Titular bishop of Ulakwo, Owerri. As far as Ahiara diocese is concerned, Okpalaeke is impeded, he can never ever function as the bishop of Ahiara diocese, he stands rejected for ever and ever; and he is going to carry this stigma all his life. The infallible authority of the pope only pertains to matters of faith and doctrinal teachings of the church, and not in the issue of the appointment of local church administrators like bishops; Everyone who is enlightened in church laws knows this... Your argument that "Rome has spoken" does not hold in this case; even Rome knows that. This is not the first time an appointed/sitting bishops have been rejected, remember Lucas Nwaezeapu in Warri diocese, remember Markeni diocese in Sierra Leone, and also the case recently in Austria etc.
    The case in Ahiara diocese erupted because the church hierarchy in Nigeria due to their power-play, favoritism, and domination tendencies refused to follow the laid down canonical process for searching for and appointing new bishops for a vacant Seat. This power-play has been going on for long, and now thanks to the courageous Mbaise faithful who stood up against it this time history. May our Good Lord be praised!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous8:39 pm

      Find where your 500 Rev fathers will serve.

      Delete
  8. Mbaise Rejected Okpalaeke long before the so called Ordination... The Voice of the faithful is the voice of God. Use the links and see for yourself.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfKqCq3inoM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j0e0cfx0n4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03XlWQamHvI

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  9. "A butterfly thinks itself a bird..." Does that not ring a bell? This is certainly not the work of the Holy Spirit, but those of some self-serving, Vatican-connected "men of God" who want to foist their own person on another group. Shame on them all. How can you explain that Awka Diocese, where Cardinal Arinze comes from, has about 190 priests, six bishops (in another Ecclesiastical Province - Owerri!) and one Cardinal, whereas Ahiara Mbaise Diocese has about 500 priests and no bishop. The handiwork of God? Who is fooling who? Why is Arinze bent on 'fixing' his errand boys as bishops everywhere and doing so at all cost? Is this not a clear case of Nepotism in the Church of Christ? Could it not be the Holy Spirit that is energizing the lay faithful and priests of Ahiara Mbaise to fight this ugly act which some uninformed people are mistaking to be the handiwork of God? God is not an author of confusion. If the people have rejected you, then so be it. If you cannot take “Canonical Possession” of the diocese you claim to be your own, are you not but a fool? Which priests and lay faithful would you preside over? Maybe you would be doing so with military and police guards as was the case during your episcopal ordination? Think right and stop making a fool of God's people. A word is enough for the wise.

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    Replies
    1. God bless you my dear!!!

      Delete

DISCLAIMER: Comments, remarks and observations are allowed to enable my readers freely express their opinions concerning issues raised in this post. However, while I recommend the observance of the rule of courtesy for every comment, comments on this post do not in any way express my personal opinion. They are strictly the opinions of those who made the comments.

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