Rev. Ukpong assumes office as 3rd Bishop of Umuahia Catholic Diocese

Most Rev. Michael Ukpong

The new Bishop of Umuahia Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Michael Ukpong

Leonard Okachie

Most Rev. Michael Ukpong was on Thursday formally installed as the third Bishop of Umuahia Catholic Diocese in Abia.

The highly spiritual and solemn ritual, which took place at the Mater Dei Cathedral, Umuahia, was performed by the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Antonio Filipazzi.

In a homily, Filipazzi congratulated Ukpong on his appointment by Pope Francis to oversee the diocese, which he described as a familiar terrain to him.

He charged him to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors and promote unity among the people by bringing them closer to Christ.

The Papal Nuncio reminded him that he was chosen by God, hence must work according to the dictates of God.

He admonished him to shun tendencies, such as tribalism, nepotism and other ungodly acts that could cause division in the Church.

Ukpong’s predecessor and Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Bishop Lucius Ugorji, described the event as “a historic moment” in the anal of the diocese.

Ugorji, who succeeded the pioneer Bishop of the diocese, the late Bishop Anthony Nwedo, recalled how he ordained Ukpong as a priest on Aug. 7, 1993.

He said that Ukpong served in different episcopal capacities in the diocese and later became the Diocesan Administrator.

The archbishop prayed that the diocese would grow and flourish under him, given his “rich pastoral experience and fervent zeal”.

He urged the members of the diocese and Abia Government to extend similar cooperation they gave him to Ukpong.

He thanked Pope Francis for exercising his apostolic assignment with Ukpong’s appointment in a seamless manner, barely six months after his elevation as Archbishop.


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