NIGERIA: Apostolic Administrator Calls for Reconciliation in Ahiara Diocese

by Henry Onyango | MBAISE, MARCH 20, 2018(CISA) – Bishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara has called for forgiveness and reconciliation to bring to an end the crisis in the diocese.

Every authentic healing and renewal begins with reconciliation with God, who gives peace to our souls. We all need interior peace and renewal and to ensure that our diocese forges ahead,” Catholic News Service of Nigeria quoted Bishop Ugorji who is also the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia as saying on March 18.

In his homily while celebrating his first Mass at Mater Ecclesiae Cathedral since his appointment on February 12, Bishop Ugorji called for a new dawn of love, forgiveness, sincere reconciliation, respect for authority and sustenance of the integrity of the Church.

Bishop Ugorji while appreciating the dedication of the missionaries and early fathers of the Church in the land noted the steadfastness of the people of Mbaise land in the Catholic faith.

He however regretted that appointing a successor to the late Bishop Chikwe degenerated to a crisis of about six years which shook the foundation of the Church in Mbaise land to its very foundation.

“It is unfortunate that the process of appointing his successor snowballed into a very destructive crisis that seems to eclipse the noteworthy progress and achievements of the Church of Ahiara Diocese over the years. This horrible crisis has shaken the Church in Ahiara Diocese to its very foundation like an earthquake, inflicted deep wounds of division in the local Church and in the Igbo land and badly damaged the image of the Church in Nigeria and beyond,” said Bishop Ugorji.

“Intra-ethnic and clannish cleavages that underpinned the crisis have left their ugly marks on the face of the Church. The noble institution of the Catholic priesthood, known and respected for discipline, has been discredited and ridiculed by some unseemly behavior and utterances of the clergy,” he added.

He noted that the resignation of Bishop Peter Okpaleke as the Bishop of the diocese and his appointment as the new Apostolic Administrator does not connote a victor of vanquished but rather provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to embrace forgiveness.

Henry Onyango is a writer for both the Consolata Missionaries owned by the Seed Magazine and Catholic Information Services for Africa (CISA) since 2013. He is also the Digital Media Strategist for The Seed and CISA. View other posts by Henry Onyango