Emeritus Bishop of Ahiara Diocese, Peter Ebere Okpaleke has been formally installed as the first bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ekwulobia.
The installation which took place at St Joseph’ Catholic Cathedral, Ekwulobia amid tight security observed all the COVID-19 precautionary measures as only representatives of government functionaries , institutions, communities ,religious, statutory bodies and societies were allowed for the church service.
All the attendees also maintained social distancing with their facemasks fully kitted and also washed their hands with sanitisers before entering the church.
Governor Obiano who welcomed the new bishop said there was much work ahead and charged the bishop to lead the flock with the fear of God. He also advised the priests and the laity to walk strongly with faith, obey the bishop and also imbibe team spirit as the only way to achieve any meaningful progress in the new diocese.
Bishop Okpaleke in a message after the installation urged the people of Ekwulobia not to see the diocese as reverend father’s church but a house of God for all where everyone is important and taken seriously.
He said the diocese will take the issue of evangelization seriously seeking to be a community of love and service open to all including other denominations.
He thanked the Metropolitan Archbishop of Onitsha Province, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, others bishops, priests and the Anglican Bishop of Aguata Diocese, Rt Rev Samuel Ezeofor who was physically present.
He recalled the two wonderful decisions of the Bishop Ezeokafor of Awka Diocese whom he disclosed allowed all the priests irrespective of their diocesan origin to continue in their places of assignment till the next pastoral year beginning on October 4th and the involvement of the two dioceses of Awka and Ekwulobia in the inauguration of the new diocese. This he said had set a foundation for mutual communion and relationship between the two dioceses.
He called for cooperation of all and sundry to help him in his episcopacy, noting that he could not do it alone and announced the appointment of about 15 priests into various diocesan functions which he said would take off immediately.