Embattled Catholic Bishop finally berths as Pope Francis erects new Ekwulobia Diocese

Embattled former Bishop of Ahiara Catholic Diocese, Most Reverend Peter Ebere Okpalaeke has been appointed the pioneer bishop of newly-erected Ekwulobia Catholic Diocese.
The Vatican had Thursday, announced the erection of Ekwulobia Catholic Diocese among other Dioceses across the globe.
Ekwulobia Diocese which will have its Cathedral at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ekwulobia in Aguata Council Area of Anambra, was formed from part of the territory of Diocese of Awka and will be a suffragan of the Metropolitan See of Onitsha.
In December 2012, Okpalaeke who hails from Amesi Community in Anambra State was appointed Catholic Bishop of Ahiara Diocese in Imo State but was rejected by the clergy and laity of the Diocese over concerns about his state of origin.
Following the refusal of the Ahiara Diocesan members to allow him to enter the Cathedral and assume responsibility for the administration of the Diocese, Okpalaeke officially tendered his resignation of the care of the Diocese to the Vatican in 2018.
This had resulted in the appointment of the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia, Most Rev Lucius Ugorji as the apostolic administrator to oversee its affairs.
The embattled Okpalaeke had since then, been shuttling the Awka Catholic Diocese and other Dioceses, rendering apostolic assistance as was demanded of him.
Announcing the appointment at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka, Most Reverend Paulinus Ezeokafor, Catholic Bishop of Awka, revealed that they had written series of letters to the Pope regarding creating new dioceses out of Awka Diocese but the Vatican had continually turned it down.
“Instead, the Vatican had opted for auxiliary bishops against our appeal for new dioceses. I was surprised to receive a mail notifying me of the creation of Ekwulobia Diocese and the appointment of Bishop Okpalaeke as its first Bishop,” he said.
Ezeokafor continued, “Awka Diocese has the highest number of priests and is too big for a person to handle even with an auxiliary Bishop, so it was not easy. We are glad for this great news. We thank Pope Francis for this appointment. It is a great relief.”

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