• To meet priests, laity
The New Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara Diocese of the Catholic Church, in Mbaise, Imo State, Most Revd Lucius Ugorji, will formally assume duty on Saturday.
Revd Father Ugorji, the Bishop of Umuahia, was, a few weeks ago, appointed by Pope Francis to oversee the diocese, following the resignation of Most Revd Peter Ebere Okpalaeke.
Okpaleke quit his job over a protracted crisis that rocked the diocese for about six years.
It was gathered that Bishop Ugorji will hold his first Mass at the diocese on Saturday. Also, the priest would meet with priests in the diocese and the laity the same day.
Rev. Fr. Chris N. Anyanwu, Director of Social Communications at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja, while announcing Okpalaeke’s resignation, said, in a statement: “Following the resignation of Most Revd Peter Okpalaeke as the Bishop of Ahaira Diocese, as a result of the crisis that has lingered for nearly six years in that diocese, His Holiness, Pope Francis, has, today, appointed Most Rev Lucius Ugorji, the Bishop of Umuahia, as the Apostolic Administrator of Ahaira Diocese.”
Okpalaeke’s resignation was the climax of the crisis, which started when the Laity of the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara-Mbaise refused to accept his appointment on the grounds that he was not of Mbaise extraction.
Indigenes of Ahiara, Mbaise had insisted that one of their priests should be chosen as the bishop of the diocese.