Forgive the Diocese of Ahiara, the Catholic Bishops, Soludo pray

Of Obinna Odogwu, Awka

Catholic The Bishops of Nigeria have appealed to new Cardinal Peter Okpalaeke, to forgive the Diocese of Ahiara in Imo State for rejecting him as Bishop.

Okpalaeke, was announced Bishop of the Diocese of Imo by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, but was rejected by the lay council and the priests of Ahiara Mbaise because he was not a native.

In 2020, Ekwulobia was separated from Awka Diocese in Anambra State and Okpalaeke was installed his bishop.

Okpalaeke was elevated to the rank of cardinal by Pope Francis on May 29 and, along with 20 other bishops around the world, received the red hat at the Vatican City Consistory in Rome on August 27.

During a thanksgiving mass held at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Ekwulobia, Archbishop Augustine Akabueze, who was speaking on behalf of other Catholic bishops, reminded the new cardinal that his elevation was a call for a additional service in the vineyard of the Lord.

“I ask God to bless you. Always say no to retaliation and display a positive and forgiving attitude in this new mission. I thank the Governor of Anambra State. May all your plans for Anambra State come true in the name of God,” Akabueze said.

The Governor of Anambra, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo also joined the Bishops in begging the Cardinal to pardon the Diocese of Ahiara. He described the cardinal as the rejected stone that later became the chief cornerstone.

His call for forgiveness contained in a statement by the governor’s press secretary, Christian Aburimé, who cited Soludo as further expressing optimism that the elevation of Okpalaeke would bring blessings to the country.

“Two cardinals from Africa and one of them from Nigeria; there must be something spiritual in it. I pray that this creation will become a point of contact for something new to happen in Nigeria – the new ideas and the courage to know what to do in Nigeria, in the South East and in the State of ‘Anambra,” he said.

Okpalaeke said the Diocese of Ahiara remained dear to him as he was the second substantive bishop of the diocese. He also thanked God that the church is still alive.

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