Bishop Ezeokafor Congratulates Bishop Isizoh on Latest Appointment

…Archbishop Okeke On 39th Priestly Anniversary

…Mourns Bishop Kukah’s Mother

By Abuchi Onwumelu

The Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has congratulated the Auxiliary Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese, Most Rev. Denis Isizoh, on his latest appointment by Pope Francis as one of the new members to the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue.

Bishop Denis Isizoh, left, at a meeting with Pope Francis in Rome

Bishop Ezeokafor who gave out a congratulatory message at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Awka, described the news of Bishop Isizoh’s appointment as a cheering one, stating that Isizoh’s elevation would bring about a lot of positive developments and goodwill to the people of God, especially to Nigerian Catholics.

‘Bishop Isizoh’s appointment is a square peg on a square hole. He is more than qualified and grounded. It is a familiar terrain for him. He worked closely with Cardinal Arinze. He knows his onions. I am happy with his latest appointment. It is a move in the right direction. I know he’ll succeed.

‘I want to thank Pope Francis for the appointment. The Supreme Pontiff took a very wise decision. We all will benefit from Bishop Isizoh’s elevation. We are here to support him. We owe him our prayers,’ the Cleric said.

Bishop Ezeokafor, while congratulating Bishop Isizoh, called the priests, religious and the laity, especially those under Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, to leverage on the appointment by throwing their weights behind the bishop and also ensure that he (Bishop Isizoh) succeeded in his new assignment.

Pope Francis had, last Wednesday, appointed Most Rev. Denis Isizoh, the Auxiliary Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese, as one of the new members to the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) is a Dicastery (special department) of the Roman Curia for relations with the people of other religions. It was established by Pope Paul VI on the Pentecost Sunday, 19 May 1964, during the Second Vatican Council, as the Secretariat for Non-Christians. It was renamed the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue by St. Pope John Paul II on 28 June, 1988.

The PCID is charged with the responsibility of promoting mutual understanding, respect and collaboration between Catholics and followers of other religious traditions. It should be noted, however, that this responsibility of the PCID does not include dialogue with the Jewish religion, because the dialogue with the Jewish religion falls under the competence of the Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, and this comes under the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The current President of the PCID is Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, who has held the post since 25 May 2019

Similarly, Bishop Ezeokafor has congratulated the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke, who marked his 39th Priestly Anniversary recently.

Congratulating the Archbishop, Bishop Ezeokafor prayed God to continue to bless and keep him as he continued to shepherd his flock.

Archbishop Okeke was born in Umudioka in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State on 20th October, 1953. He was ordained priest on 11th July, 1981; appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Onitsha on 9th November 2001; and ordained Bishop on 9th February 2002. He became the substantive Archbishop of Onitsha on 1st September, 2003.

In another development, Bishop Ezeokafor has expressed sadness over the death of Mrs Hauwa Kukah, the mother of the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah, who died on 10th July, 2020 at about 9.30AM, aged 86.

In his condolence message, Bishop Ezeokafor enjoined Bishop Kukah, priests, religious and the entire lay faithful of Sokoto Diocese, to take solace in the fact that the late Madam Kukah lived a fulfilled life and for gifting the Universal Church a son to serve in the Lord’s vineyard.

Bishop Ezeokafor, while condoling with Bishop Kukah, prayed for the quick repose of her soul, even as he asked God to grant her eternal rest.