By Steve Unegbu.
The new Catholic auxiliary Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, most Rev.Michael Kalu Ukpong has enjoined Christians and Abians in general to pray for one another and for a better Abia state .
Bishop Ukpong, who disclosed this to Newsmen at Mater Dei cathedral Umuahia ,during his episcopal ordination as the auxiliary Bishop of Umuahia diocese by Pope Francis ,who was represented by the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Arch Bishop Antonio Guido Fillipazzi ,expressed happiness over his ordination, describing it as “God’s doing and I feel honoured that God should consider me worthy for this office, but on the other hand ,it is a responsibility, a very big one ” he noted
He pointed out that ,” From the beginning ,we call it vocation ,God’s calling ,so if God calls you, you have to say yes ,but if one understand what it is all about, one should be somehow a bit uneasy ,because a lot is demanded of a Bishop “
According to him , ” this is my 27th year in the priesthood, I was ordained into a priest in 1993,so I celebrated my silver jubilee 2 years ago “
Narrating his experiences from the beginning ,he recalled that ,” When I wanted to enter seminary ,though my father was not a Catholic , he supported me ,but for other relations, it was a big problem,but God always has His way and like God told many of the prophets of old ,Jeremiah, Isaiah and many others ,He told them that before you were born ,I knew you ,I have already chosen you for the mission you are to fulfill ,so it is God’s own will ,that is the way I understand it ” he said.
Speaking further, he noted that , ” Being a Bishop is not human choice ,it is God ‘s choice ” Saying that ,” for any body to aspire for any position in the church ,that will be a mistake, while explaining that ” Jesus told His disciplines that you have not chosen me ,I have chosen you and sent you forth to go and bear fruits “
The first auxiliary Bishop of Umuahia Diocese ,appreciated the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia , Most Rev. Lucius Ugoji for his support, while promising to assist him move the Diocese forward. ” I am always here and ready to help our Bishop to move the Diocese forward ” he said.
Addressing Newsmen during the episcopal ordination at Mater Dei Catholic church, the Methodist Archbishop and Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, Most Rev. Dr Raphael Chibuzor Opoko ,congratulated the new auxiliary bishop Kalu Ukpong, disclosing that he met him for the first in 1993 ,when he came at Uzoakoli as a priest and ” I am glad seeing him again today ”
Again ,”I am so glad that his excellency Most Rev .Bishop Ugoji extended invitation to me ”
Archbishop Opoko described the work of a bishop as the work of a Shepherd ,adding that a bishop is a priest, a prophet and a king and that his obligation is to God first before anyone else .
” My advice is that he must always seek the face of God in performing his duties ,so that he can be bold and courageous to talk to government and to anyone ” he said
According to him ” One of the challenges that goes with the position of bishop is that ,when we speak the truth, we are labelled as a non conformist ,so let him rely on God and the holy spirit ”