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You must root out seed of division, discord, Pope Francis tells Catholics

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….Installs new Bishop in Ebonyi

Pope Francis Thursday called on Catholics across the globe to root out the seed of division and discord in the Catholic community.

He said Catholics all over the world were one family and must avoid particularistic and selfish attitudes.

The Pope spoke in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital during the ordination and installation of Rev. Peter Chukwu as the third Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki following the retirement of Rev. Michael Okoro the former Bishop of the Diocese.

Over 50 Catholic Bishops attended the event which was witnessed by Governor Dave Umahi, his Deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Ogbonna Nwifuru, former Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Martin Elechi, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and National Assembly members from the state among others.

The ordination and installation of Rev. Chukwu was performed by Rev. Antonio Filipazzi, the Apostolic Nuncio of the Catholic Church to Nigeria on behalf of the Pope.

The Pope called on the Catholics to avoid ethnocentrism and excessive particularism and build the church a family.

“If you want to build the church as a family, it is necessary to avoid all ethnocentrism and excessive particularism. Try instead to consider reconciliation and grow communion between different ethnic groups.

“We Catholics are one family not because we have black ties that unite us. We are one family because we are saved by the one redeemer Jesus Christ, washed by the one baptism marked by the same holy spirit, nourished with the one heavenly bread.

“I said this today because it is all about the occasion of appointment of Bishop but this particularistic and selfish attitude emerges. This must stop, this must stop. Without pointing the fingers on others, everyone in the church must root out from himself, from herself, any seed of division and discord.”

Francis, earlier in a letter to the new Bishop, urged Church to zealously carry out the ministry entrusted to him as the Bishop of the Diocese describing him as manager of scarce resources with sound doctrine, pastoral diligence and outstanding expertise.

Governor Dave Umahi in his remarks said his administration has partnered with the Catholic Church which he said has rapidly transformed the state.

Responding, Chukwu, who was ordained a Catholic Priest on July 3, 1993, said though he feels little and inadequate to be the Bishop of the Diocese, but thanked Pope Francis for finding him worthy of the position.

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