By Chiagolum Omege
As part of her Activities to begin the Year 2023, the Ancient and Noble Order of the Knights of Saint John International (KSJI), Awka Commandery 434 and Laux 363, on Saturday, January 28, organized a civic reception in honour of their Emeritus Spiritual Adviser, His Eminence, Peter Ebele Cardinal Okpaleke.
Fides recalls that Cardinal Okpaleke, who is among the 20 new cardinals of the Church, is one of two African bishops and the only Nigerian created a cardinal on Saturday, August 27, 2022, at St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. The College of Cardinals is a body of clergy who assist the pope in overseeing the affairs of the Church and they also vote during papal elections.
Also Fides discovered that prior to being created as cardinal, Okpaleke resigned as bishop of Ahiara Diocese in Imo State after being rejected because he was not an indigene. The new cardinals are an addition to the College of Cardinals which has now grown from 208 to 229.
Speaking during his address of welcome, Major Vincent Otikpa, President, Commandery 434, Awka, lauded the newest Cardinal for what he described as his deep interest in the affairs of the Order of the Knights of St. John International (KSJI). He also lauded Cardinal Okpaleke for his role in resolving the crisis that nearly engulfed the Order.
Major Otikpa, who led the presentation of gifts that ranged from cash, portrait and personal donations, to the Cardinal, commended him for his fatherly love and good work.
Reacting, Cardinal Okpaleke appreciated the knights for what he tagged simple but classic reception, their goodwill and the gifts they donated.
The the cardinal, who is also the Catholic Bishop of Ekwulobia, also encouraged them to hold onto their faith as Soldiers of the Church, as well as shine out in exemplary lives for others.