Aba Catholic Diocese in Abia State yesterday received Very Rev. Fr. Augustine Echema, Diocesan Bishop-elect at Christ the King Cathedral (CKC), Aba after five years without a bishop.
Aba Catholic Diocese has been vacant for about five years following the death of its erstwhile Bishop, Very Rev. Fr Valentine Ezeonyia in 2015.
Echema, ordained Reverend Father by the Owerri Catholic Diocese was earlier yesterday handed over to Aba Diocese in a service at St. James Catholic Church, Owerri ahead of his ordination tomorrow.
During the mid-day service at CKC, Aba to welcome the bishop-elect, Echema thanked members of the church and priests who came to welcome him to Aba Diocese from Owerri Diocese.
He said that he was overwhelmed by their acts of service and love, stressing that they had not done so for him, but for God who owned all the glory.
The Aba Diocesan Administrator, Very Rev. Fr Innocent Ajuonu, said he was happy that Aba Catholic Diocese had received a Chief Shepherd, hence, things would take a better shape.
He said it was not easy administering the diocese for five years without a bishop, but noted that the burden did not crush him because of the help of God, the laity and the clergy.
Ajuonu urged the bishop-elect to do his job as he was led because the good people of the diocese were willing to assist him to succeed in his ministry.
The cleric enjoined all Nigerians to honour the Church by being present at the ordination of the Bishop-elect on Thursday.
Earlier, Mr. Cherechi Nwogu, the Aba South Transition Chairman, described the appointment of the Bishop-elect to the local government which is the base of Echema’s new ministry, as a welcome development.
He expressed delight over Echema’s appointment as the Aba Catholic Diocesan Bishop and assured him of their support and service.
Pope Francis had on Saturday, 28th December, 2019 announced the appointment of Very Rev. Fr. Augustine Ndubueze Echema of the Owerri presbytery as the new bishop of Aba diocese.
Until his appointment, Echema was a Professor of Liturgy in the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
He was born on 28th December, 1958 in Ohuhu Nsulu, in Isiala Ngwa North LGA in then Catholic Diocese of Umuahia but now of Aba.
He had his minor seminary formation at St. Peter Claver Minor Seminary in Okpala, Owerri, between 1972 to1977.
He completed his philosophical studies at the Bigard Memorial Seminary in Ikot Ekpene (1978-1982) and theological studies at same seminary in Enugu 1982-1986.
He was ordained priest on 16th August, 1986, for the Owerri diocese.