From Joseph Obukata, Warri
Former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has said that only a hard-working leader should have the title of “Emeritus” affixed to his name.
Cardinal Onaiyekan spoke in Warri during the 75th birthday thanksgiving anniversary of the Catholic Bishop of Warri Diocese, Most Rev Dr John Okeoghene Afareha, at Mother of the Redeemer Catholic Church Effurun, Delta State.
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He said that not every leader merits or deserved the title Emeritus but for those who work hard and has impacted society.
The cardinal noted that he has come to show solidarity with his brother and to also welcome him to the club of the Emeritus Bishop having attained the Canonical age of 75.
Cardinal Onaiyekan said that it is only those who have worked hard enough that merits the name Emeritus because not everybody who have worked merits the name ’emeritus’ but some even demerit it.
While thanking other Catholic bishops present for their support, Cardinal Onaiyekan encouraged the celebrant not to be afraid as his only ambition is to make heaven.
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Delivering the homily, Catholic Bishop of Uromi Diocese, Most Rev Dr Donatus Ogun OSA, revealed that the position of attaining a Catholic Bishop is the sole decision and responsibility of the Pope.
Reacting to some social media critics who are already scheming on the internet for Bishop Afareha’s replacement, Most Rev Ogun noted, that there are priests who maybe preparing to become bishop, but noted that they may never realize such, saying that only God through the Pope chooses who will lead the church to holiness.
‘We thank God for the life of our beloved Bishop John Okeoghene Afareha who have attained 75 years and the reason for the Thanksgiving Mass,’ he added.
‘Choosing a Bishop is a most delicate manner and no one applies to be a Bishop in the Catholic Church or say he is now qualified or deserve it. It is not like the political setting,’ he noted.
The ceremony which attracted Catholics and non Catholics from far and near, also had Catholic Bishops from across Nigeria, including His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, immediate past Catholic Archbishop of Abuja archdiocese, His Grace, Most Rev Augustine Akubeze, immediate past President of the Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria CBCN, and Archbishop of Benin archdiocese, Most Rev Hyacinth Egbebo MSP, Catholic Bishop of Bomadi Diocese, Most Rev Donatus Ogun OSA, other Catholic Bishops, Rt Rev Dr Blessing A Erifeta, JP, Bishop of Diocese of Sapele Anglican Communion, Catholic Priests, family members, friends and Catholic faithful.