By Eseoghene Emuke
Excitement is in the air as all is now set for the episcopal ordination and installation of Rt. Rev. Monsignor Anthony Ovayero Ewherido as the new Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Warri in Delta State on Thursday February 9th, 2023.
Ewherido, who was until recently the Rector of SS Peter and Paul Interdiocesan Major Seminary in Ibadan, was appointed by the Holy Papa, Pope Francis, as the Bishop-elect following the retirement of Bishop John Oke’Oghene Afarheha.
He was appointed December 28, 2022. Ewherido’s appointment was announced by the Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Warri, Most Rev. Augustine Akubueze.
Prominent Nigerians including the governor of Delta State and vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, are among dignitaries expected to grace the event.
Others expected as the historic event are the Vatican ambassador to Nigeria and Papal Noncio, Archbishop Antonio Gillo Filipazo; Cardinals and all bishops of the Catholic church in Nigeria including Archbishop of Benin Archdiocese and Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Warri, Most Rev. Augustine Akubueze and the Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah.
Also expected at the ceremony are former governors of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and Chief James Ibori; Deputy governor of Delta, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro; federal ministers, Speaker of the State House of Assembly and governorship candidate of PDP, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori and a host of others.
Addressing journalists at a press conference in Effurun, the chairman of the installation planning committee, Very Rev Fr. (Prof.) Jude Obuinu, said the episcopal ordination and installation of Rt. Rev. Ewherido will hold Thursday February 9th at Holy Martyrs of Uganda Minor Seminary, Effurun, Delta State.
Flanked by the Financial Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Warri and member of the planning committee, Very Rev Fr. Dr. Jude Sagbodje; Director of Communications, Catholic Diocese of Warri and Chairman, Publicity Sub-Committee, and former Delta commissioner for information and member planning committee, Chief Emuobonuvie Enamuotor, Fr Obuinu said guests are expected to sit by 9am while celebration of Holy Mass commences by 10am.
Obuinu, a professor of counselling and director of counselling at the Delta State University (DELSU) Abraka, said adequate security has been put in place to ensure hitch-free ceremony.
He said the choice of Ewherido as the new Bishop of Warri was greeted with wide acceptance by priests and lay faithful, adding that his (Ewherido’s) “appointment is a blessing to the diocese and the body of Christ”.
The Catholic priest explained that the Catholic Diocese of Warri was established in 1964 by Pope Paul VI of blessed memory from the Benin Diocese after the existence of the Catholic faith in the area for several centuries.
Prof. Ubuinu added, “The forthcoming event of the episcopal ordination and installation of our new bishop is a great event for us. We are excited about it and feel blessed by it because, once again, we are taking major steps forward in developing the Catholic faith in Warri Diocese.
“It is coming up on the February 9, 2023. All the Catholic bishops in Nigeria, will be here, both retired and in active service. Except for this who for some special reasons cannot attend. The papal noncio will be here as one of the principal celebrants of the ceremony.
“We are expecting dignitaries from within the state and around the country. And all well-meaning sons and daughters. We praying for a hitch free engagement. There’s going to be tight security to ensure a hitch-free ceremony.”
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