Pope Francis appoints Okpalaeke Bishop of new Anambra Diocese
Pope Francis has established the Diocese of Ekwulobia in the Anambra state and named Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke as its first Ordinary.
Announcing the appointment at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Awka, the Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor said that he received what he described as pleasant news with joy and gladness.
According to Bishop Ezeokafor, the new Diocese was formed from a part of the territory of the Diocese of Awka and would be a suffragan See of the Metropolitan See of Onitsha.
Reading out the appointment letter before the priests of the Diocese, he noted that the newly created Diocese would cover Akpu, Ekwuluobia and Achina Regions.
According to bishop Ezeokafor, after series of letters written to Pope regarding creating new dioceses out of Awka Diocese in the past, the Vatican City turned it down and instead opted for an auxiliary bishop, noting that he was surprised to receive a mail, notifying him of the creation of Ekwuluobia as a diocese and the appointment of Bishop Okpaleke as the first bishop.
In his reaction, the Awka Diocesan Chancellor, Very Fr. Francis Chidume, the Episcopal Vicar of Ekwuluobia Region and the Parish Priest of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ekwuluobia, Rev. Fr. Ignatius Onwuatuegwu and the Administrator of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Very Rev. Fr. Matthew Attansey, expressed gratitude to God for the creation of Ekwuluobia Diocese and also for the appointment of Bishop Okpaleke as first bishop of the Diocese.
Tribune Online gathered that until his appointment, Bishop Okpaleke was the Bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Ahiara in Mbaise local government area of Imo state.