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brief history

 

 

 

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF ORLU
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 29, 1980, the diocese was created out of the then Owerri Diocese (now Owerri Archdiocese), by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II.

 Most Rev. Dr. Gregory O. Ochiagha, ordained Bishop in Rome on the 6th of January 1981, was appointed its first Bishop subsequent to the inauguration that took place on February 15, 1981. The Patron of the Diocese is the “Most Holy Trinity”. The total population of the diocese today is above 2 million with Catholics numbering over 700,000. It has 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 383 excluding 26 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 159 Parishes and 4 Chaplaincies.

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 reginons 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 and help them 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 made in the annals of Orlu Diocese was 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.

As we live in the hope of the dynamic leadership of the Bishop, the creation of the more parishes, the 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 will aid the new ecclesiastical leadership in the Diocese enhance the work of Evangelization already began and the Holy Spirit would guide Orlu diocese. Amen.

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
Local Ordinary…………………………..Most Rev. Dr. Augustine Ukwuoma
Emeritus Bishop……..………………… Most Rev. Dr. Gregory O Ochiagha
Patron of the Dioces………………………..Most Holy Trinity
Total Population…………..………………..900,000
No. of Catholic…………………………......700,000
No. of Parishes………………………………169
No. of Chaplaincies……………………...…..4
No. of Stations………………........…………283
No. of Diocesans Priests………................….375
No. of Religious Priests………...……………17
No. of Religious Brothers..……………... …..5
No. of Religious Sisters……………………..119
No. of Major Seminarians…...………………170

DIOCESAN ANTHEM.  KEY G 2/2
Orlu diocese we acclaim thee
Great community of Christ's faithful
Bound by the Mystery our Heavenly home
Under the Patronage of the Blessed Trinity

Come Community of Love and Service
With a heart to love and will to serve
United under one Master and Shepherd
Rally to make great our diocese of Promise

Let us all with one accord
In faithfulness, peace and harmony
Give faithful to all men far and near
The knowledge of salvation

Guide us Beloved Mother of the Church
To heed your Son and the Holy Spirit
So to live eternally with the Father
In peace and happiness forever