On Tuesday, February 12, 2019, the Holy Father, Pope Francis at exactly 12 noon (Nigerian time) made announcement that altered the course of history of the Church in Port Harcourt Diocese and made Rivers State as it were, a member of the league of States in Nigeria that have indigenous Catholic Bishop.
Pope Francis announced the Parish Priest of St. Francis Catholic Church, Rumuokwuta, Very Rev. Msgr. Patrick Eluke as the auxiliary Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese. This singular appointment made him the first ever Rivers priest to be appointed a Catholic Bishop.
This historic appointment has generated lots of commendations from the faithful of the Diocese who expressed gratitude to the Holy Father as well as the Church in Port Harcourt for making herself ready to have one of her own elevated to the rank of a Bishop.
The appointment of Msgr. Eluke is a sign that the Church in Rome recognizes the growth of the faith here, and hence, expects more from the Church in Port Harcourt.
The mother Church expects that evangelization would spread faster to all the nooks and crannies of the State especially, where the Church is yet to be fully rooted and that, there would be more achievements through catechesis for the conversion of more people into the Catholic faith.
The Auxiliary Bishop-elect is a man that is known for his obedience, and commitment to ensuring that he believes and does what is good at all times, a consummate Pastor who believes that the Gospel is not only to be preached but to be practiced.
While this appointment is not an end in itself, but a means to an end, the faithful need to work harder and in collaboration with the Local Ordinary, Most. Rev. Camillus Etokudoh and the Auxiliary, Very Rev. Msgr. Patrick Eluke to carry the message of Christ forward in much better ways.
No doubt, this appointment is nothing but a testimony that the prayers of the people of God in Port Harcourt Diocese have been answered by God, and should serve as a unifying factor for the Diocese.
This appointment can also be seen as God’s own way of putting Rivers State in limelight for all the right reasons, as such, there is need for the government and people of the State to key-into the enormous spiritual and material blessings that comes with this kind of appointment.
We commend our Bishop, Most Rev. Camillus Etokudoh whose tenure as a Bishop, has witnessed so much development in the Diocese including this recent appointment.
To all the priests, religious and lay faithful of the Diocese, we say bravo!