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Pope Francis installs new Catholic Bishop in Ebonyi

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By Ruth Oginyi, Ebonyi

The highest spiritual of the Roman Catholic, Pope Francis has installed Bishop Peter Chukwu as the new and 3rd Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki, Ebonyi state following the retirement of the former Bishop Rev. Michael Okoro.

During the episcopal ordination and installation which took place at the St Theresa’s Catholic Cathedral, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, Pope Francis represented by Papal Nuncio to Nigeria His Most Rev. Antonio Guild Filipazzi, called on Catholic faithful in the state and world at large to eschew division and discord in the catholic community and worship God in truth and spirit.

The Catholic spiritual leader, who reaffirmed that Catholics all over the world was one family, admonished Catholic faithful to avoid ethnocentrism, excessive particularism and selfish attitudes.

“If you want to build the church as a family, it is necessary to avoid all ethnocentrism and excessive particularism. Try instead to consider reconciliation and grow communion between different ethnic groups.

“We Catholics are one family not because we have black ties that unite us.  We are one family because we are saved by the one redeemer Jesus Christ, washed by the one baptism marked by the same holy spirit, nourished the one heavenly bread.

“I said this today because it is all about in the occasion of the appointment of Bishop but this particularistic and selfish attitude emerges. This must stop, this must stop. Without pointing the fingers at others, everyone in the church must root out from himself, from herself, any seed of division and discord.

“Dear brothers and sisters, as everyone in the Diocese of Abakaliki welcome the new Bishop, may all commit themselves to overcome what divides us at every level and to bring in truth, charity, and humility, a true family within the great family of the universal church,” the pope advised.

The installation ceremony which was attended by over 50 Catholic Bishops also had the state Governor David Umahi, his Deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Ogbonna Nwifuru, former Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Martin Elechi, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Senator Obinna Ogba, Hon. Chinedu Ogah, and other National Assembly members from the state, chairman revenue mobilization, and fiscal commission Engr. Elias Mbam in attendance.

In hisremark, Governor Umahi who said that his administration has partnered with the Catholic Church which he said has rapidly transformed the state, described the installation of Bishop Chukwu as divine and highly acceptable by all the people of Ebonyi State and therefore assured the new Bishop of adequate support.

In an acceptance speech, Bishop Chukwu thanked Pope Francis for finding him worthy of the spiritual assignment and solicited for prayers from the Catholic faithful.

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