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I am ready to serve: Full text of Most Rev. Simeon Okezuo's address at Catholic Cathedral, Ahiara Mbaise

Thursday Dec 21, 2023 9:43 am



By NEWS EDITOR
Ahiara Mbaise,   News


  MESSAGE OF GRATITUDE

AFTER EPISCOPAL ORDINATION

                      by

MOST REV. MOST REV. SIMEON OKEZUO NWOBI, CMF

Titular Bishop of Rusgunie

Auxiliary to the Apostolic Administrator Sede Vacante of Ahiara Diocese

at Maria Mater Ecclesiae Cathedral, Ahiara Mbaise.

“I stand on the existing protocol.”

1. As we conclude this beautiful liturgy of my ordination as Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara, I want to take a brief moment to try to express my heart to you. I am filled with great joy and tremendous gratitude today.

2. The great joy comes from knowing that the Holy Spirit continues to work in the Church, gathering us all together to participate in this moment of grace for the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara and in my own life. The profound gratitude I feel in this moment is for so many blessings that God has shown me and this wonderful Diocese. 

3. I am thankful for our Holy Father, Pope Francis — for his extraordinary shepherding of our Church and for his confidence and trust in me by calling me to serve as Auxiliary to the Apostolic Administrator Sede Vacante of Ahiara Diocese. I pledge my unending fidelity to him as the Successor of Peter and entrust him daily to the Lord in my prayers.

4. My dear friends gathered here today; I greet you. Some of you have come from very distant places. Many of you have come from Counting the people the United States, the UK, Germany, Italy,  Ghana,  and from the farthest parts of Nigeria. All of you, even those who come from nearby towns, have made a great sacrifice. I am happy that you are here.

5. I thank the Committee that is organizing this Episcopal ordination, led by, Very Rev. Fr. Celestine Ekennia. I am grateful for the excellent programme of activities you have put together. Please extend my gratitude to all the collaborators involved.

6. Many individuals reached out to me, on hearing of my nomination, to offer their assistance. Some of you were exceptionally helpful. I cannot mention everyone by name. I pray that God may reward you all beyond our imagination.

7. I am thankful for very many people who have prayed and are still praying for me. There is power in prayer, there is power in patience, there is power in hope! Do not be tired of praying for me. I assure you that I will not cease praying for you. Many people sent me goodwill messages. Not all of them are contained in the brochure. I deeply appreciate every one of them.

8. I acknowledge the presence of so many distinguished persons: people in government past and present, Ndi Eze, Ahiara Laity Council Worldwide, Ezuruezu Mbaise, leaders of different religious communities and traditions, captains of industries, and so on. I also recognize the presence of all men and women of goodwill.

9. To the first family of Imo State: Governor Hope Uzodimma and his family, I am profoundly grateful for the wonderful support you have given us, especially in preparation for this ordination. I also wish to thank the Governor of Abia State His Excellency Alex Otti and his family for their support for this occasion.

10. I thank the members of my biological family: my brothers and sisters, in-laws, nephews and nieces, cousins, Ndi Umuabazu, Ndi Eziama Oparanadim,  Ndi Ekwereazu na Ndi Mbaise  nile. I am happy that you are here.

11. I wish to thank the Knights and their Ladies, the CMO, the CWO, the CYON, Mary League Girls, Church Wardens, all the Sodalities. Your contributions cannot be overemphasised.

12. To the consecrated men and women, I am grateful that you are here in large numbers too. Thank you for the encouragement your presence gives me.

13. To the priests of Ahiara Diocese. From the moment I first received word of my appointment, you have all been in my prayers and in my heart. Your warm welcome and the love and support you have already shown to me has proven the goodness of God which I see in you. We shall work as family, we shall work as team and Ahiara will be great again! 

 

14. At this moment, I would like us to pause for a moment for the repose of the soul the pioneer bishop of this great Diocese , the late Most Rev. Victor Adibe Chikwe and for all the priests of this diocese who have passed onto glory and in a special way, Rev. Frs. Joseph Ezeji and Mark Oguamanam who passed on recently...May their souls and souls of all the faithful departed…

15. To my Claretian Family, what I am today is by the grace of God and the formation of the Claretian Congregation. I wish to thank our Superior General VRF Mathew Vattamattam ably represented here by his Vicar VRF Henry Omonisaye, my esteemed brothers Most Revs. Wilfred Anagbe and Hilary Dachelem,  the Major Superiors of East and West Nigeria VRFs Nathaniel Eke and Augustine Medaiyedu, the Claretian Priests and Sisters, the Lay Claretians and all our collaborators from Owerri, Enugu, Lagos and all parts of Nigeria and the World. Your presence here today has strengthened me all the more.

16. To all our Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops of Nigeria, I am grateful for your solidarity.  I am privileged and graced to have received the imposition of holy hands of so many bishops! I thank you for admitting me into your fold.

17. Your Eminences/Excellences, before you all today, I am just like a newly born baby, needing plenty of support to survive the early challenges of my Episcopal life. I have indeed a lot to learn from you. Please, never be tired of explaining to me the things I do not understand. I implore you: please  accompany  me how to be a good and a holy Bishop. Never cease praying for me.

18. I acknowledge, with great respect, efforts of the erstwhile Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria His Excellency Antonio Guido Filipazzi. May God bless him in his new mission in Poland. I also wish to thank the Charge d’Affaires Apostolic Nunciature Abuja Msgr. Carlo Maria Donati for being present here today. Your Excellency, kindly send our love and prayers to the Holy Father Pope Francis. I also wish to thank Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Secretary of the Dicastery for Evangelization. His accompaniment has been edifying. I also recognize the presence of Archbishop Brian Udaigwe, the Apostolic Nuncio to Sri Lanka. 

19. Your Lordship, Bishop Augustine Echema thanks for accepting to be the homilist and thanks once again for the enriching and edifying homily.

20. Your Excellency, Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, it is difficult to find words to thank you. For many years I have known you. As a student you taught me and nurtured me through the crucible of theology, as a priest you were a mentor and now as a bishop you are my leader. Today is not a day of beatification for you. But it is important to bear witness to what I have seen and experienced. You positively enriched my priestly life and experience. Many times you beckoned on me to direct the retreat of your priests in Umuahia. May be those times were my periods of evaluation. Your excellency, you are a great administrator, You are a loving priest You are an experienced pastor and You are a compassionate shepherd! Ahiara Diocese loves you and we pray for you. Your Excellency, I thank you for accepting to be the Principal Consecrator at my Episcopal ordination today. May God bless you.

21. Your Grace, the Episcopal ordination is taking place today because you wanted it and you requested the Holy Father to give you an Auxiliary. By my Episcopal ordination today, it is clear that your request is granted!

22. Your Grace, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, is sending me to you. In total obedience to him and without any reservation, here I am…I AM READY TO SERVE.

THANK YOU ALL AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL.


"Your Grace, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, is sending me to you. In total obedience to him and without any reservation, here I am…I AM READY TO SERVE.'

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