Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Catholic pontiff, Pope Francis, has approved the appointment of Rev. Fr. Patrick Eluke as the new auxiliary bishop of Catholic Diocese of Port Harcourt.
A statement released in Abuja, on Tuesday, by the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), indicated that Fr. Eluke, is the current pastor of the Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Rumuokwuta.
It added that the new auxiliary bishop who has no right of succession is expected to assist the substantive Bishop Camilus Etukudoh, in the discharge of pastoral duties to the Catholic faithful
Meanwhile, the CSN Director of Communications, Rev Fr. Chris Anyanwu, added that the substantive bishop had requested for the assistant due to his failing health and inability to reach out to parishes and members across the 23 local government areas in the state.
He said: “Appointment of an auxiliary bishop is a usual practice in the Catholic Church. They are periodically appointed, in most cases, to assist the substantive bishop if need be.
“In this case, the substantive bishop requested for it and the Holy Father graciously approved it. It’s noteworthy that Rivers State has only one Catholic diocese with hundreds of parishes and huge membership. It is, most times, difficult for the substantive bishop to offer prompt pastoral services to these parishes and its members hence the need for such as an assistant.”
He, however, disclosed that a new diocese would soon be carved out of the existing one. This, he hoped, would enable people to receive more and prompt pastoral services.
“But until then, the new auxiliary bishop will assist the substantive bishop in supervising the Catholic churches in the diocese and other pastoral services.”