Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect emeritus of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, celebrated his fifty years of being ordained a Coadjutor Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese when he succeeded Archbishop Charles Heerey.
AT the Pontifical Mass held at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity in Onitsha to celebrate the fifty years anniversary, Archbishop Augustine Kassuja, Pope Francis’ Papal Nuncio to Nigeria who represented Pope Francis was quoted saying:
“Good fifty years have gone by since Cardinal Arinze was ordained a Coadjutor Bishop, Titular Bishop of Fissiana to succeed Archbishop Charles Heerey.
“At his Episcopal consecration on 29 August 1965, at the age of 32, the young Francis Arinze became the youngest Roman Catholic Bishop in the whole world. Luckily for him, he was ordained just in time to join others at the closing session of the Second Vatican Council, and after the demise of Archbishop Heerey after a long period of illness, the young Francis Arinze succeeded him, on June 26, 1967.
“What we are celebrating today is a combination of fidelity, heroism, determination, endurance, faith and joyful service of the Lord We are paying honour to whom honour is due: first to God, and appreciation to his Eminence.
“Your Eminence, when in 2005, the whole world acclaimed you a worthy Papa bile, it was not by chance. It showed that your capacity was recognized. If on that occasion you were not chosen as a Pope, surely it is not because of your incapacity, but because our continent was not yet ripe for such an election. You have been a sign of hope to many, even those who have not met you in person.”
About Cardinal Arinze:
Cardinal Francis Arinze was born on 1 November 1932 in Eziowelle, a city of the Archdiocese of Onitsha and ordained a priest on 23 November 1958 in the ceremony at the Church of the Pontifical Urban University in Rome.
He was ordained coadjutor Archbishop of Onitsha Archdiocese on 29 August 1965 and two years later became the substantive Archbishop of Onitsha
n 1984, Pope St. John Paul II asked him to head, as pro-president, the Secretariat for Non-Christians (now the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue). He was created Cardinal on 25 May 1985.
Since the year 2005, Cardinal Arinze holds the title of Cardinal-Bishop of Velletri-Segni and Prefect emeritus of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.