… Bishop Ezeokafor Commissions Synod of Bishops, 2021-2023
By Daruwana Daku
The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr Paulinus Ezeokafor, Saturday, November 17, ordained 10 Reverends of the diocese as Deacons of the Church. The diaconal ordination which took place at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka, also witnessed status elevation of some seminarians as acolytes and lectors.
This was even as the Bishop, in line with the Papal order, inaugurated and commissioned the diocesan 2021-2023 Synod Committee.
The event saw many priests, religious and lay faithful welcomed by Bishop Ezeokafor as the diocese participated in the ongoing diocesan synod inauguration and setting up of committee for two years.
The Bishop in his homily called on the newly consecrated deacons to be obedient to the authority of the Church, particularly the Bishop and priests. The Bishop, who noted how rigorous the process of being a priest was, called on the deacons to live a life of prayer, even as he charged them to always be mindful of identifying their needs and wants in their journey of priesthood.
The prelate also called on parishes and the lay faithful to support priestly formation, noting that getting a good priest required the cooperation of all. he charged mothers, fathers and priests to support them both spiritually and materially.
Bishop Ezeokafor also called on the deacons to use the remaining months ahead of them to reflect deeply and decide on their intention of becoming priests.
Speaking on the Synod, Bishop Ezeokafor who extensively addressed the issues of Cannon Law and the diocese’s policy,advised the priests and parishes to maintain financial discipline while charging them to live a life of contentment.
Echoing the call by Pope Francis to institute a synod committee in dioceses, deaneries and parishes, Bishop Ezeokafor educated the congregation on the importance of the synod and on how it would help spread the gospel to the hinterlands.
Inaugurating the diocesan synod committee, the Chancellor of the Diocese, Rev. Fr Francis Chidume, while administering the Oath of Fidelity to members of the committee, called on the committee members to live up to the expectations of the Church as such committee would be replicated even in the deaneries and parishes.
Fides gathered that the diocesan committee members were made up of priests and lay faithful who were representatives of the Catholic Women’s and Men’s Organizations, Catholic Youth Organizations, Deaneries and pious societies.
It will be recalled that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, had on the 10th of October 2021, formally opened a two-year process called ”a synod on synodality”, officially known as “Synod 2021-2023: For a Synodal Church.”
This process involves an expansion of an established institution called the “Synod of Bishops.” This means that bishops around the world will consult with everyone from parishioners to monks, nuns and Catholic universities, before coming together for a discussion in 2023.
It was on this premise that the Awka Diocese instituted its own committee to run the affairs of the Synod for the next 2 years.