The Catholic Archbishop of Abakiliki Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Peter Chukwu has called on the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria(CBCN) to facilitate the process for the creation of a new Diocese in Ebonyi state.
Archbishop Chukwu said the Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki has produced many parishes since its creation in 1973 and was due for a new Diocese.
He stated this on Thursday at St. Theresa Cathedral in Abakaliki, during the 50-year golden jubilee celebration of the Catholic Diocese.
Some Catholic Archbishops, Bishops, Governor Francis Nwifuru, former Governor Martin Elechi and many other personalities attended the event.
Chukwu lamented that it was only Ebonyi State in the whole of South East that has only one Diocese and urged the Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria(CBCN) to create a new Diocese in the state to bring the church closer to the people.
He said “We have had so many parishes created, when are we going to have a new Diocese created out of Abakaliki Diocese?
“Abakaliki Diocese is the only one state Diocese in the whole of South East. Anambra has five Dioceses; Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi, Ekwulobia and Aguleri.
“Enugu has three Dioceses; Enugu, Nsukka and Awgu. Imo State has four Dioceses; Owerri, Orlu, Okigwe and Ahiara. Abia State has two Dioceses; Umuahia and Aba. Only Ebonyi has one Diocese.
“So, I challenge you the Catholics in Ebonyi to pray about this today and I want to say it before the President of The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria(CBCN) at this Mass, that we need help, we need a new Diocese here.
“If I want to go to Pastoral visit at Ishiagu. I will drive for 1 and a half hours, that’s a long distance. But if we have an additional Diocese, it will bring the church closer to the people.
“I want to thank the CBCN for all the efforts they have already made towards the materialization of this intention but we like them to put more firewood to the fire. So, that’s an intention and I want you to pray about it today.
“Something happened yesterday at the Ochudo Centenary City. The Governor and his Cabinet and a cross-section of our priests gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony of a big church building. The ground we prepared by my predecessor and the regimes of Chief Martin Elechi and David Umahi but it is under the current government in the state that the dream is going to become a reality.
“It is going to be a 6,000-capacity church. Archbishop Ugorji calls it a Basilica, it’s not just a big church. So, we just want to put down a prayer that the good Lord may provide all the help needed for the speedy completion and realization of that project”.
Governor Francis Nwifuru in his remarks expressed happiness on the growth of the Diocese.
He urged Priests of the Diocese to represent the image of the Diocese at all times the way the Bishop of the Diocese and his Predecessor are doing.