Tony Okafor, Awka
The Aguleri World Forum has expressed gratitude over the erection of the Catholic Diocese of Aguleri and the appointment of its first Bishop, Denis Chidi Isizoh, by Pope Francis.
In a statement by the forum made available to our correspondent on Saturday, AWF said Aguleri would forever pray for the Holy Father, Pope Francis.
THE GROUP’S STATEMENT READ IN PART:
AWF Celebrates with the Catholic Church in Aguleri on the Historic Erection of the Catholic Diocese of Aguleri (Nigeria) and the appointment of the first Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Aguleri, H.E. Bishop Denis Chidi Isizoh, by The Holy Father, His Holiness, Pope Francis, *Sunday February 12, 2023.*
Bishop Isizoh, is from Ogbunike, a town in the same Old Anambra Division as Aguleri and it is a great honor for the first Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Aguleri, to be a son of the Region, a Papal masterstroke or Godly ordination.
AWF and All Aguleri Home and Abroad express their profound gratitude to the Holy Father, Pope Francis and the Catholic Church, for finding it worthy to host the highest body of the Church of Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior, by the Erection of the Catholic Diocese of Aguleri. Aguleri will forever pray for the Holy Father, Pope Francis. Aguleri will pray and be in the profound gratitude of His Grace Archbishop Valerian Okeke, the Archbishop of Metropolitan ONITSHA Ecclesiastical Province, the mother church of the Catholic Diocese of Aguleri, for allowing and shepherding the Erection of the Catholic Diocese of Aguleri.
And we will not forget Aguleri figures who for years have worked for a day like this namely Gov. Willie Obiano, and many others who are no longer with us namely Engr. Marcel Manafa, etc.
The newly erected Catholic Diocese of Aguleri, is located in Southeastern Nigeria, in Anambra State, comprising four Local Government Areas: Anambra West, Anambra East, Oyi and Ayamelum.
This Diocese brings together the old family, in the Old Anambra Divison, a region known as the Breadbasket of Anambra state, renown for their great Culture and Rich History, and one which in recent years, have witnessed much peace and development. This followed an 8-year period when a son from the region, Willie Maduaburochi Obiano, served as the first ever governor of the state from the region since independence in 1960 and since states creation, and brought about much peace, unity, development, Cultural reawakening in the region.
That the seat of the Catholic Diocese of Aguleri is in the Ancient City of Aguleri, considered the cradle of the Igbo race, is only befitting. The Cathedral church of the new Catholic diocese of Aguleri will be the current St. Joseph Catholic Church in Aguleri. The church where Blessed Iwene Tansi was once a Priest. The Church and Aguleri was the first center of formal education in the old Anambra Division, as the first place where both primary and secondary schools were first established that trained first generation students in entire old Anambra Division.
The Church in Aguleri was born, according to church history, in May 1888, with the first visit of Rev. Fr. Joseph Emile Lutz, C.S.Sp. and his missionary entourage to Aguleri, when they were received by Onyekomeli Ogbuanyinya Idigo. Later same year, a mission station was established at Aguleri. On May 27, 1890, Fr. Lutz paid a formal visit to Aguleri Mission Station and led in the Eucharistic celebration for the formal opening of the new station. This was the first step to the building of a Christian Community, a Christian village, in Aguleri (Ugwu Ndi Uka) which is the first of it kind in the nation (Nigeria).
On June 1, 1890, Fr. Lutz and Fr. Joseph Bubendorf (C.S.Sp.) visited the town again and went to choose a new site two kilometres north of the town for the nascent mission station at Eziagulu Aguleri. On August 2, 1890, Brother Herman C.S.Sp. started to build a mission house at the new site. (Culled from Church history).
This Catholic Diocese of Aguleri will therefore help strengthen the deep bond, blood, historical, religious and friendships ties, between people in old Anambra Division. And it will clearly help continue to strengthen the peace and unity and prosperity that the people of the area have been yearning for, for generations.
Next stop Canonization of Tansi, and Aguleri will truly live up to our name Obodo Oma ChiUkwu (God’s Blessed Town); and let’s open our doors to the Pilgrims so that they can taste our Aguleri and entire old Anambra Division hospitality.
Aguleri World Forum (AWF) congratulates the people of Aguleri, and Anambra North on this ecclesiastical achievement. All parts of old Anambra Division should take ownership of this historic Erection of the Catholic Diocese of Aguleri, as it belongs to all of us, just like the anticipated Canonization of Blessed Iwene Tansi, God willing, will be.
Our Region is also set to witness great growth and development which we deserve. With the proposed Aguleri Education University, in the future, and Anambra State recognition as an Oil producing state following the effort of former Gov. Obiano and continued work from Gov. Soludo, Aguleri is one of the host Communities of that Oil and Natural Gas that will Power the future Growth and Development of Anambra State. Aguleri is an important part of Anambra state. Our region is ripe and yearning for full and rapid development, to the benefit of all our children. There is Enormous Potential here awaiting those who are looking for serious public private partnership.