Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor
Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese
In a small village of Ifite-Nanka in Orumba North Local Government Area, Anambra State, a child was born to Late Mr. Raymond Enukebe and Mrs. Veronica Nwasinwa Ezeokafor on 13th September,1952. This child was named ʻChukwuemekaʼ,which represents the words used by David in Psalm 107:1 to express gratitude to God for his goodness and mercy. At the heart of the name ‘Chukwuemeka’ is gratitude, which comes from Latin etymology ‘gratus’ (thankful). Italian word gratitudine still from the same root gratus, brings out the relationship between grace (grazie) and gratitude (gratitudine). He who enjoys grace of God, must live a life of gratitude. So, for Late Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Ezeokafor, it was gratitude for the gift of a first son (diokpala). But for his Lordship, it is an attitude, a way of life. ‘The highest expression of gratitude does not lie in expression of mere words but in living a life of gratitude…’ (J. F. Kennedy). So, the young Chukwuemeka became indeed a symbol of God’s blessing to his family and to all around him. It was with these sentiments of thanksgiving and gratitude, being animated by the apostolic zeal of St. Paulinus that prepared him for vocation to sacred priesthood. After his primary school at St Anthony’s Nanka and in 1959 he moved to All Hallows’ Seminary Onitsha. He distinguished himself in the seminary, such that his one-year apostolic work was spent at the Archdiocesan Secretariat Onitsha with the then Archbishop of Onitsha, His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze.
The young Chukwuemeka studied philosophy at the then Bigard Memorial Seminary, philosophy Campus Ikot Ekpene now St Joseph’s Major Seminary Ikot Ekpene (1976-1979), where he obtained Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Pontifical Urban University Rome. After his theological formation, in Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu from 1980-1983, he obtain Bachelor’s degree in theology from Pontifical University Rome.
After his seminary formation, the young Chukwuemeka being moved with same faith of St Paulinus, was ordained a priest on 30th June 1983, by the pioneer bishop of Awka Most Rev. A.K Obiefuna. The same apostolic zeal which enabled St Paulinus, an Italian missionary priest, to convert North Umbria to Christianity, helped young Paulinus Chukwuemeka in his general disposition as a priest. After few years pastoral experience, he was sent to Rome to study moral theology at Pontifical University of Santa Croce, where he obtained licentiate and doctoral degree in Moral theology.
Coming back to Nigeria he served as a Rector of St. Dominic Savior Seminary Akpu (1996-2006), then the Rector of St John Bosco Seminary Isuaniocha (2006-2007). On 20th January 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him the auxiliary bishop of Awka. On 28th April 2007, in accordance with the norms of the Church, he was consecrated a bishop by Archbishop Renzo Fratini, the then Papal Nuncio to Nigeria. When the episcopal see of Awka became vacant, the light of can.416, the Holy Father appointed him the Apostolic Administrator of Awka diocese. On 8th July 2011, he became the substantive bishop of Awka diocese.
A diocese where people of God enjoy fullness of life offfered by Jesus christ through integral human development and spiritual empowerment.
Evangelize the people of God through offering of Spiritual and material empowerment for the glory of God and salvation of souls.
Caritas mea cum omnibus vobis in Christo Jesu