…As Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province Gets 25 Deacons
Pope John Paul II Major Seminary, Okpuno, celebrated her 25 years of existence, December 3, just as the Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province ordained 25 deacons at Pope John Paul II Major Seminary Okpuno, Awka South LGA, Anambra State, Adejumoke Aminat Alebiosu. reports
His Grace, Most Rev. Antonio Guido Filipazzi, Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, was the Chief Celebrant, while bishops and priests, including His Grace, Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke, Archbishop of Onitsha & Metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province; His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Okpaleke, Catholic Bishop, Ekwulobia Diocese; His Lordship, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Awka and chairman, Board of Directors, PJPS; His Lordship, Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Most Rev. Peter Chukwu, Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga, Bishop of Enugu Diocese and his Auxiliary Bishop, Most Rev. Ernest Obodo, Most Rev. Godfrey I. Onah, Bishop Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, Most Rev. Denis Isizoh, Auxiliary Bishop of Onitsha and numerous priest were concelebrants.
Present at the Mass was Mr Stephano De Leo, Italian Ambassador to Nigeria; Senator Victor Umeh, former Senator representing Anambra Central, among other politicians, business men and women.
Also represented was Peter Obi, presidential candidate, Labour Party and former Governor, Anambra State; as well as Prof Chukwuma Soludo, Governor, Anambra State.
While delivering his homily, the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, His Grace, Most Rev. Antonio Guido Filipazzi, who was the ordaining prelate, encouraged the newly ordained to follow the examples of Pope John Paul II, especially his priestly life.
Highlighting some of the jobs of priests, he gave one of them as making the lay faithful understand the meaning of the Mass and understand the liturgy better.
Very Rev. Fr Dr Cyril Udebunu, Rector, PJPS, appreciated the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, the provincial bishops, the past Rectors, formators, academic and non-academic staff, as well as benefactors, for all they had done to keep the seminary alive and active. He also congratulated the newly ordained deacons, stating that they had made history as the first deacons to be ordained in the seminary,
Bishop Ezeokafor, on behalf of the Board of Governors, appreciated everyone present at the celebration.
Fides recalls that the seminary was established on November 20, 1997, as a Campus of Bigard Memorial Seminary. The newly ordained deacons were from the eight dioceses in the Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province which included, Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki: Rev. Fidelis Eze; Rev. Kingsley Nwokpuru; Rev. Peter Onyia
Catholic Diocese of Awgu: Rev. Valentine Achi; Rev. Paschal Mbaogu and Rev. Ethelbert C. Uduji.
Catholic Diocese of Awka: Rev. Paschal Idima; Rev. Nelson Obiagba and Rev. Innocent Odilimuo.
Catholic Diocese of Ekwulobia: Rev. Valentine Ejike; and Rev. Emmanuel Ohaegbu.
Catholic Diocese of Enugu: Rev. Christopher Agueze; Rev. Collins Nwodo and Rev. Vincemt C. Okoro.
Others were Catholic Diocese of Nnewi: Rev. Charles Chukwuekwe; Rev. Nicholas Onuigbo and Rev. Jude Onyiwara.
Catholic Diocese of Nsukka: Rev. Fidelis C. Asadu; Rev. Meshach I. Nnaji and Rev. Christian O. Ugwu.
Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha: Rev. Sylvester Afudoh; Rev. Jude Ezeji; Rev. Anthony Ikegbunam, Rev. Kingsley Jibuaku and Rev. Remigus Nwangwu.
Highlights of the event were presentation of awards to deserving personalities, including past Rectors; Mr Peter Obi; Sen. Victor Umeh; Hon. Dozie Nwankwo; and CWO Awka Diocese, for their contribution over the years.