Our History

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ORLU DIOCESE

The early missionaries to Nigeria set their foot on what is now known as the Catholic Diocese of Orlu in 1910. The resident priest, Rev. Fr John C. Anyaogu, settled at Akokwa in 1936, but available records show that the first Parish to be established in the area was at Amaigbo in 1937, with Rev. Fr. Dr. Hackette as its Parish Priest. It was in 1966 that the confines of the present Catholic Diocese of Orlu were raised to Deanery with Rev. Fr. Lawrence Doyle, C.S.Sp., as its first Dean. On November 19, 1980, the diocese was created out of the then Owerri Diocese (now Owerri Archdiocese), by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. .

The Appointmenet of our first Bishop

. Most Rev. Dr. Gregory O. Ochiagha, appointed its first bishop, was ordained on 6th January 1981. Consequently the inauguration of the diocese took place on 15th February 1981. The Patron of the Diocese is the “Most Holy Trinity”. The total population of the diocese as at this date is about 1,325,115 with Catholics numbering over 1,000,000. It has about 691 junior seminarians; 170 Senior Seminarians. Presently 5 Religious Brother and 119 Religious Sisters are working in the Diocese. The number of Orlu Diocesan Priest is 412 excluding 29 Priests who have gone before us, marked with the sign of faith. At the creation of the Diocese on 19th of November 1980, and the installation of its first Bishop on the 15th of February 1981, there were only 23 established Parishes. At her 10th year existence, another 27 were created making it 50. It is on record that within the ten months of its existence, the Bishop created the first three parishes: St. John Umuobom, St Patrick's Amucha, and Sacred Heart parish, Orsuithiteukwa. The Diocese now enjoys a total number of 164 Parishes and 5 Chaplaincies. As we live in the hope of the dynamic leadership of the Bishop, the creation of more parishes, increase in the number of Priests and vocations to the Priesthood, the contributions of the religious and the support of the laity, we pray to our Blessed Mother Mary, the Mother of the Church to intercede for us for more fruits of the works of Evangelization in our diocese.

Creation of Zones

It is also on record that the Diocese created four zone (what we have now as Regions), with a view of making its administration easier. The regions are: St. Michael's Pastoral regions, St. Gregory's pastoral Region, Regina Pacis Pastoral Region, St. Theresa's Pastoral Region, with their respective Deans who co-ordinate them to enhance the Pastoral Ministry. Worthy to be mentioned is the inauguration of the first Diocesan Synod from 22nd to 27th of November 1999 and the dedication of the Diocesan Cathedral on the 6th of December 2000 by His Excellency Archbishop Padilla, the then Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria. With the celebration of Her Silver Jubilee on the 18th of February 2006, which was graced by the then incumbent Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, His Excellency Renzo Fratini, there is no doubt that there is a high sense of unity, co-operation and co-ordination between the Bishop, the priests, Religious and the Laity. Under the charismatic leadership of Bishop Ochiagha, the establishment of various solidarities and communities especially the Porta Caeli Cistercian Monastery on the 10th of March 2007, help in the spiritual growth and propagation of faith. Another major land mark was made in the annuals of Orlu Diocese on June 21, 2008 when Most Rev. Dr. Augustine Tochukwu Ukwuoma was ordained and installed the Bishop of Orlu, taking after the pioneer Bishop, Most Rev. Gregory Ochiagha.

OUTLINE CHART OF THE DIOCESE OF ORLU.

The Advent of the First Missionaries 1910 The First Resident Priest 1936 (Akokwa) Raised to the statues of Deanery May 1966 The First Dean Rev. Fr. Lawrence Doyle, C.S.S.P. Created a Diocese November 29, 1980 Inaugurated February 15, 1981 The First Bishop Most Rev. Dr. Gregory O Ochiagha The Second Bishop Most Rev. Dr. Augustine Ukwuoma Patron of the Diocese Most Holy Trinity Total Population 1,325,115 No. of Catholics 1,000,000 No. of Parishes 168 No. of Chaplaincies 5 No. of Stations 283 No. of Diocesan Priests 429 No. of Religious Priests 17 No. of Religious Brothers 5 No. of Religious Sisters 119 No. of Major Seminarians 170 No. of Minor Seminarians 691 No. of Catechists 400

THE CHURCH AS OUT-STATION

the church...