By Daruwana Daku
The Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Antonio Guido Fillipazzi, has noted that the Catholic Church in Nigeria in spite of the economic, political and social distrust, has maintained indivisibility over time. The Papal Nuncio made this statement during his homily at the installation of the second Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev Jonas Benson Okoye, on Thursday, February 10, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption Nnewi.
The prelate who commended the Church in Nigeria on their unified nature, he noted that the occasion of Bishop Okoye’s installation brought Catholic Bishops from different parts of the country in spite of the security challenges that Nigeria was faced with, adding that the visible of presence of the bishops was further to solidify the point that the Church in Nigeria was not divided.
He also alluded to the fact that the convergence of bishops from the north, south, east and west of Nigeria at Nnewi was significant to the occasion just as it indicated that the Catholic Church in Nigeria had not accepted anything that could create difference amongst her members; be it, ethnic, history, political or economic.
The Holy See’s representative, who congratulated Bishop Okoye on his installation, also charged him to hold to his stool in shepherding the priests, religious and lay faithful of the diocese. Given his exceptional qualities as an Auxiliary Bishop of Awka Dioceses and his cannon knowledge, His grace said he had no doubt that with the support of the Church, the new bishop would lead the faithful well.
The Papal Nuncio through his homily also eulogized the first bishop of the diocese, now Bishop emeritus to the Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev. Hillary Okeke, for his effort in keeping the faith of Christians and shepherding his flock in the past 20 years, noting that he was a bishop forever.