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Always Say No To Retaliation – Catholic Bishops Urge Cardinal Okpalaeke



By Praise Chinecherem

Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has advised Peter Ebere Cardinal Okpalaeke to exhibit positive and forgiving attitude in his new assignment.

Immediate Past President of the conference, Archbishop Augustine Akabueze stated this on Thursday at St. Joseph Cathedral, Ekwulobia, Anambra State during a reception mass for the Cardinal who is also the Bishop of Ekwulobia Diocese.
He also urged the Cardinal to always say no to retaliation.

Akabueze congratulated the new Cardinal, reminding him that the elevation was a call to additional service in the Lord’s vineyard. He said, “I implore God to bless you. Always say no to retaliation and exhibit a positive and forgiving attitude in this your new assignment.
“I thank the Governor of Anambra State. May all your plans for Anambra State find fulfilment in God’s name”.
Governor Chukwuma Soludo expressed optimism that the creation of Peter Ebere Cardinal Okpalaeke would bring about a new dawn in Nigeria, South East and Anambra State in particular.

He described the creation as marvelous, having happened in very unusual time, stressing that it would become a point of contact for something new to begin to happen in Nigeria.
“Two Cardinals in Africa and one of them from Nigeria. There must be something spiritual about it. I pray that this creation will become a point of contact that something new will happen in Nigeria- the new ideas and courage to know the right thing to be done in Nigeria, South East, and Anambra State”, the Governor prayed.

Appreciating God for making the elevation a reality, Soludo recalled the ordeals and travails of Cardinal Okpalaeke and ascribed his present status to the grace of God. “We’ve come to celebrate the unusual grace of God. It’s very historic and nothing else would have made this possible than the grace of God. Ekwulobia is the youngest of the whole Dioceses in Nigeria and now the stone that the builders rejected has become the Chief Corner stone.

“It was made possible by only the Grace of God who prepared him in this way, for there is a blessing in every challenge. On behalf of the people of Anambra State I welcome all of you to this wonderful ceremony,” he added.
Responding, Cardinal Okpalaeke acknowledged his indebtedness to God for allowing him to be made a Cardinal in the Catholic Church, saying, “since the announcement in May 2022 by Pope Francis, I have come to realize the fulfillment of God’s words in Isaiah 55:9.

“The news broke out while I was on a Pastoral visit at Nawfija, since then I have been in deep prayer to God, to enable me serve Him.
“I am confident that the Lord will not abandon me on the way. Some of you made a great sacrifice to travel to Rome to witness the creation on 27th August. I thank you for that huge sacrifice and solidarity in the Lord. Together in the service of the Lord, we can make a huge difference.”

He said the Church in Ahiara Diocese remained very dear to him as he remains the second substantive Bishop of the Diocese, thanking God that the Church is still alive.
The mass celebration was attended by Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim, Deputy Governor of Imo State, Placid Njoku, Senators, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests and Catholic faithful. Others who were also present include; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Ernest Ezeajughi, Deputy Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, Dr. Paschal Agbodike, Senator Victor Umeh, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Ubah, Senator representing Anambra South Federal Constituency among others.

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