Pope Francis on Saturday formally announced the appointment a priest of Makurdi Diocese, Revd Fr. Stephen Beba as “Chaplains to His Holiness” with the title of Monsignor.
His Eminence, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, made the announcement during the 25th Priestly Anniversary of the Catholic Bishop of Makurdi, Most Revd Wilfred Anagbe, in Makurdi.
Newsmen report that Fr Beba, who was born in 1945, was among the first group of seven Tiv Priests ordained on Dec. 29, 1971, and is the only survival of the group.
According to Onaiyekan, the certificate and letter was dated Oct. 29 and was personally signed by the Pope.
Others ordained with him were late Bishop Emeritus of Makurdi, Most Revd Athanasius Usuh, former governor of Benue State Father Moses Adasu, Father Benjamin Adzor, Father Dominic Yuhe, Father Edward Maer and Father Simon Ivever.
Newsmen report that Beba becomes the first priest to be honoured with the title of Monsignor since the creation of the Makurdi Diocese on April 2, 1959, and presently the Parish Priest of Saint Mary’s Parish, North Bank, Makurdi.
Earlier in his sermon, Very Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Edeh described Bishop Anagbe as an obedient servant of God who was very dedicated to his calling.
Preaching from the Gospel of Matthew in the Holy Bible, chapter 11 verse 25 to 30, Edeh charged all people in authority to ensure that education does not die within their jurisdiction.
“The project of the Bishop now is to ensure that both the blind, disabled can also have formal education and that is a project that we must all support.
“Nigerians looks for happiness instead if blessings from God. The bishop’s project will not only bring happiness but blessings to all of us”.
Edeh disclosed that Bishop Anagbe as a year one student in the seminary challenged the school principal for allowing his livestock to graze on the school farm; so his views against opening grazing are not new to the Church.
Speaking during the mass, Gov. Samuel Ortom said Bishop Anagbe has brought tremendous value to both the church and the government.
Ortom described the Bishop as someone who believed in fairness, justice and iniquity.
He disclosed that the four Catholic Bishops in Benue had in 2017 gave him “very bitter pills” about his administration and it was very difficult for him to swallow, adding that he accepted their counsel and today he give God the glory.
The Catholics Bishops of Otukpo, Bauchi, Abuja, Jalingo, Yola, Ogoja and Shendam dioceses and over 100 priests participated in the mass.