THE Catholic Bishop of Ekwulobia in Anambra State, South-East Nigeria, Peter Okpaleke, has been named as one of the 21 new cardinals of the Catholic Church by Pope Francis.
The announcement was made on Sunday May 29, at the conclusion of the Regina Coeli, a prayer said by Catholics. In the list of new cardinals, eight are from Europe, six from Asia, two from Africa, one from North America, and four from Central and Latin America.
The College of Cardinals is a body of senior priests who support the Pope in overseeing the affairs of the church, and they also vote during Papal elections.
Pope Francis said he will hold a consistory (a meeting of the Council of Cardinals) on the new Cardinals on August 27, and will also meet with them on the same day for discussions on church matters.
“On Saturday, 27 August, I will hold a consistory for the creation of new cardinals. Let us pray that they will help me in my mission as Bishop of Rome for the good of all God’s people,” the Pope was quoted as saying.
Okpaleke was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Awka on 22 August 1990 and has filled a wide variety of pastoral and administrative positions, including university chaplain, parish priest, diocesan finance administrator, diocesan chancellor, and secretary and member of diocesan boards.
He studied Canon Law in Rome at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.