• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Newly ordained Ahiara bishop urged to prioritise diocesan unity, healing of worshippers

Augustine Echema, the Catholic bishop of Aba diocese, has urged the newly ordained bishop of Ahiara, Simeon Okezuo Nwobi, to prioritise unity and healing parishioners within the diocese.

Echema stated this in his homily during the episcopal installation mass at the Mater Ecclesiae Cathedral, Ahiara, where he emphasised the need for the new bishop to build up the broken bridges of Ahiara diocesan clergy and the faithful.

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“Ntam, you have the capacity and I see it as your first and major duty to once again knit this great presbyterium together. That is why you are not only episcopal, but also pontifical; in the original sense of the word, which means “bridge builder” (from the two Latin components, “pons–tis” for bridge and “facere” to make).”

Echema reminded the congregation of the sharp divide that the episcopal crisis inflicted on the diocese in his homily, and called on the faithful to collaborate with the new bishop on the need for reconciliation within the diocese.

“My dear Bishop Nwobi, you are being empowered today. Do not be afraid – you have the mandate, the grace of office and above all the support of the Church. Go to the five clans or communities of Ahiara, Ekwerazu, Ezinihitte, Abajah and Oke Ovoro that make up Ahiara diocese and tell them that they are one people, unite them and bring them together,” Echema stated.

The bishop of Aba also urged the priests within the diocese to unite with their bishop to deepen the acceptance of the gospel among the faithful. “Division among priests is a scandal and the worst thing that can destroy a presbyterium and by extension a diocese.”

According to Echema, the respect and obedience of priests to their bishop shows in their loyalty in word and deed. He further reminded the priests of their vow of obedience, priestly responsibilities to the diocese.

“You support his programmes, you speak well of him, you never scandalise people by criticising him or by mocking him, by not accepting assignments grudgingly thereby making the people of God to suffer.

“My dear priests; as we all know; we have been ordained as shepherds of the flock of God and defenders of the faith. We all accepted this office willingly without coercion. We are not to accept office in order to make a shameful profit.

“Some of us are mean, always desiring to make gain with the celebration of the sacraments. Some of us seem to be in this job for what they could get out of it. Some of us are too greedy for gain, too demanding and the people of God are groaning under the heavy load we heap on them,” Echema stated.

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