Christ’s faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Port Harcourt, through the Diocesan Laity Council Chairman, Sir Cyril Osere (KSJI) informed the Diocesan Auxiliary Bishop, Most Rev. Patrick Eluke that a large portion of Port Harcourt Diocese is still at the primary level of evangelization after 58 years of her creation.
The observation was contained in an address presented to the Auxiliary Bishop on his Episcopal Consecration held at Corpus Christi Cathedral, on Thursday, May 9, 2019.
It was disclosed that the metropolitan city does not tell the complete story of the hinterlands and the swampy parts of the Diocese. “We are still grappling with building the Catholic faith in a predominately protestant region. My Lord, be prepared to launch into the deep waters of the Diocese to catch more souls into the flock of the Church”.
The address also stated that some parts of the Diocese where under siege due to cultism and other social vices. “We call on you to intensify your prayers and good works to save our dear state from further sliding into anarchy”.
“My Lord, as our Auxiliary Bishop, we enjoin you to work very closely and harmoniously with the Diocesan Bishop, Most Rev. Camillus A. Etokudoh. Work collaboratively with the Priests, Religious and the Laity. Do not forget the peculiarity and cosmopolitan nature of Port Harcourt Diocese. Kindly bring the wealth of your experience to bear in all the areas of our Diocese”, they prayed him.
The address which was jointly signed by the Diocesan Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Stephen Dedua, President, Female Religious, Rev. Sr. Maria C. Ibekwe and President, Diocesan Laity Council, Sir Cyril Osere, expressed optimism that the Episcopal Consecration would lead to the elevation of more priests from the Diocese and the creation of more Dioceses from the present Port Harcourt Diocese in the nearest future.
Sir Osere reminded the Auxiliary Bishop that the Diocese covers 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State, a Diocese that spans from the metropolitan city of Port Harcourt to the mangroves regions and has over two hundred priests working and studying in the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), State and Federal Universities in the State or are on mission to Port Harcourt Diocese.
They expressed gratitude to His Holiness, Pope Francis for finding one of their sons worthy to be elevated to the office of an Auxiliary Bishop, the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Most Rev. Antonio Guido Filipazzi for being the principal consecrator and Bishop Etokudoh for his request for an Auxiliary Bishop and for his love for Port Harcourt Diocese.