Parishioners of Catholic Diocese of Aba, Abia State could not hold their happiness on Sunday in all their parishes as the news of the appointment of Monsignor Augustine Ndubueze Echema as the new Bishop for the Dioceses by the head of the church, Pope Francis was announced during their respective church services.
The appointment of Echema is coming four years after the death of the former Bishop of Aba Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev. Vincent Valentine Ezechukwu Ezeonyia who reigned between April 2, 1990 and February 8, 2015 after a brief illness.
The appointment of the Bishop-elect has put to an end the lingering lobbying and controversy on who succeeds late Ezeonyia. This is also as arrangements for the official installation of Echema as the 2nd Bishop of the Diocese since it was carved out from the Umuahia Diocese in 1990 have started.
Aba Catholics have continued to hail his appointment as a wise decision taken by Pope Francis, saying they were happy that a son of the soil emerged the Bishop-elect.
The Bishop-elect, Echema, it was noted also marked his 61 years birthday on December 28.
Echema until his appointment is a Professor of Liturgy at the Catholic Institute of West Africa in Port Harcourt; President of the Liturgical Commission of the Archdiocese of Owerri; Chaplain of the Owerri Provincial Laity Council was born on December 28, 1958 in OhuhuNsulu, then Diocese of Umuahia and now of Aba.
He had his minor seminary formation at St. Peter Claver Minor Seminary in Okpala (1972-1977).
He completed his philosophical studies at the Bigard Memorial Seminary in Ikot Ekpene (1978-1982) and theological studies at the seminary of the same name in Enugu (1982-1986).
He did higher studies at the Philosophisch-TheologischeHochschule Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt, obtaining a Doctorate in Theology, with a specialization in Liturgy (1989-1994).
Echema was ordained a priest on August 16, 1986, for the Owerri clergy.
After the ordination, he held the following positions: 1986-1988: Formator in the minor seminary St. Peter Claver in Okpala; 1988-1989: Parish priest of St. Mark in Umuneke Ngor; 1989-1994: Higher studies in Frankfurt, Germany; 1994-1995: Parish priest of St. Joseph in Schwalbach, in the Diocese of Limburg, Germany; 1996-1998: Deputy Chaplain of the CIWA Worshipping Community in Port Harcourt.
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