Protest over Holy Ghost Fathers sack by Catholic Bishop in Nnewi

Most Rev. Okoye

The Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Anambra State, Most. Rev. Jonas Okoye, has sacked the Holy Ghost Fathers residing at St Martin’s de Poures Catholic Church, Ihiala; Vanguard reports.

For the past century, the Holy Ghost Fathers have been in charge of the St Martin’s Church. In this period, they founded several churches and schools including the popular Holy Ghost Juniorate Seminary, Ihiala, and some universities in parts of the country.

According to reports, the Bishop had announced the postings during a meeting with priests in the Diocese. His Diocesan priests were posted to St Martin’s, Ihiala.

The Holy Ghost fathers and members of the parish council        were also reposted by the Bishop immediately.

However, the Bishop said that the Fathers can stay at the Juniorate Seminary, Ihiala and the Spiritual Farmers, Okija.

They were not comfortable with the decision of the Bishop because it was not him who gave them the parish.

This development caused uproar in the community as citizens in the community and other parishioners protested the sack of the Holy Ghost Fathers from Ihiala.

In an interview with journalists, Secretary of the Coordinating Committee of the Concerned Ihiala Citizens, Mr. Nonye Chukwu, said, “We are having a problem with our Bishop, He issued an order that Holy Ghost Fathers who stay at St. Martins should pack out and that he doesn’t want them in Ihiala anymore. This didn’t go down well with Ihiala Catholics. 

“These Holy Ghost fathers have become endangered species. Immediately after the Nigerian civil war, the then government alleged that they were responsible for prolonging the war and then sacked them from Eastern Nigeria.

“Those of them who were foreigners left, while the Indigenous ones continued their missionary work up till now and they are the ones Bishop wants to sack. 

“Where does he want them to go to? We have every reason to say no irrespective of the fact that he has all the powers on earth as Bishop.

“These Holy Ghost priests sustained our people during the war as some of them were even emergency pilots who brought relief materials to the war ravaged areas of the country”.

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