. . . The Church is Getting Closer to Our Schools- Fr Ekemgba
By Chinecherem Efobi
On celebrating the new catholic Diocese of Ekwulobia, School Run visited some schools in the new diocese to get their views about the new diocese through their school managers.
On Tuesday 10th March 2020, School Run visited Holy Ghost Academy Amaokpala, a school owned by the Congregation of the Holy Spirit of Nigeria, and had an interactive section with the school Principal, Rev. Fr. Jude Ekemgba [CSSp]. The priest, who is also the President of Religious Men and Women in Awka Diocese, said that it was indeed a heart full of joy when they heard about the creation of the new Diocese Ekwulobia, and the appointment of Most Rev. Peter Ebere Okpalaeke, the former Bishop of Ahiara, as the first Bishop of the diocese.He joyfully said that the creation of the diocese by Pope Francis, showed that the Catholic Church was really increasing both in number and in faith.
Speaking to School Run, he said that the creation would be an advantage to the schools especially those in Ekwulobia diocese,because the school functions would now be closer to the local ordinary and would bring the church to the grass roots.“It helps in propagating the faith through the schools because in the Catholic schools, they don’t just teach academics,they also teach morals and the Catholic doctrine.Therefore, it is a big advantage which will help to go a long way by inspiring more efforts in the Catholic schools of both Awka and Ekwulobia Dioceses”, Fr Ekemgba said.
He continue by noting that creation of Ekwulobia diocese did not mean that there could not be synergy and having things in common with Awka diocese, giving an example with the just concluded Onitsha ecclesiastical debate and quiz completion, where schools in all the dioceses that made up Onitsha ecclesiastical province came together, had quiz competition and debate, which his school, Holy Ghost Academy Amaokpala represented Awka Diocese, and took the first position.
He concluded by saying a big congratulations to the new Bishop, Most Rev. Peter Ebere Okpalaeke as the first Bishop of Ekwulobia Diocese, saying that their school Holy Ghost Academy and the Congregation of the Holy Spirit Province of Nigeria wish him well. Fr Ekemgba noted that the Holy Ghost Congregation has been collaborating with Awka Diocese at large and would work effectively with the new Ekwulobia bishop and also collaborate with them. He prayed to God to give him good health of body and mind, and fill him with divine wisdom and asked that his appointment as the new Bishop deepened Christian faith.
. . . Ekwulobia Diocese Was Created Without Rancour- Fr Anyiam
That same day, Tuesday 10th March 2020, School Run also visited Maria Goretti Nursery school Amaokpala and had an interaction with the school manager who is also the parish priest of St. Mary’s Catholic Church Amaokpala, Rev. Fr. Peter paul Anyiam.
Fr Anyiam said that people have been waiting for the new diocese all these while and people were happy about that because it was not something that was created out of hatred, rancour or segregation, but pastoral neccessity for the betterment of the people of God and with love.
As the former chaplain of St. Augustine Chaplaincy Federal Polytechnic Oko, he said that the students would be happy about the new diocese especially those in the new diocese. “Nobody wants to stress him or herself so much because now the new diocese is here. It has kind of eased off us some stress of rushing for quiz competitions, debates and other things especially attending the functions of different schools that are farther off with young ones” the Fr Tennis player said.
In his conclusion, the Ezinifite Aguata-born priest thanked the two Bishops of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor and his Auxiliary, Most Rev. Jonas-Benson Okoye for keeping Bishop Okpalaeke in good term all these while. He noted that the new Bishop of the new Diocese will now have a good rest after passing through some real stress during his reign in Ahiara Diocese and that now the Lord has appointed him through Pope Francis and he has come to stay by the special grace of God, may he never lack God’s choicest blessings and wisdom which he will use to guide his people. “Congratulations our dear Bishop Peter Okpalaeke” he concluded.