Most Rev. Dr. Peter Okpalaeke, the “rejected” Catholic Bishop of Ahiara Diocese and current Bishop of Ekwulobia Diocese has just been appointed a Cardinal by His Holiness. Pope Francis 1, ANAMBRA PEOPLE reports
Bishop. Peter Ebere Okpaleke was born into the family of Reuben Ezeuko Okpaleke & Bridget Ekejimma Okpaleke (both of blessed memory), of Amesi in Aguata L.G.A of Anambra State. He is the fourth of nine children.
He attended Bigard Memorial Seminary (now St. Joseph Major Seminary) Ikot-Ekpene (1983-1987) and Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu (1988-1992).
Okpaleke was ordained a priest on August 22, 1992 by Most Rev. Simon A. Okafor, the then Bishop of Awka Diocese. After ordination, he was appointed the Assistant Secretary to the Bishop and he served in this capacity till 1995 when he was asked to go to the Catholic Institute of West Africa(C.I.W.A) for post-graduate studies in Canon Law (1995-1997).
On his return to the Diocese, after his Masters’ Degree programme, he was appointed the Diocesan Financial Administrator as well as vicar and afterwards Chaplain of St. Joseph the Worker Chaplaincy, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka (1997-1999). He combined this with his work as Diocesan Financial Administrator.
In 1999, Okpaleke was sent to the Pontificia Universita Della Santa Croce, Rome where he obtained a Licentiate and a Doctorate Degree in Canon law (1999-2002) as well as a Diploma in Ecclesiastical Administration (2002).
To the glory of God, Okpaleke demonstrated his intellectual endowment by consistently obtaining First Class Honours in most of the examinations he took in the course of his studies both in Nigeria and abroad.
On his return, Okpaleke was appointed Parish Administrator of St. Anthony’s parish Nanka (March 2002 – October 5, 2002) and then the Diocesan Chancellor, (2002-2011). He was one of the Diocesan Masters of Ceremonies. In 2011, he was posted to the Ss. John and Paul, Umuebele, Awka until his bishopric appointment first as Bishop of Ahiara diocese and later The new Bishop of Ekwulobia
Okpaleke has served on many Boards, Commissions and Committees. These include the Finance Council, Pastoral Council, Diocesan Board of Examiners, Presbyteral Council; College of Deans; Priests’ Education Commission, Committee on the Creation of Parishes and Judge, Onitsha Inter-diocesan Marriage Tribunal. He was the secretary of some of these Boards and Commissions. Since 1995, Okpaleke has been a member of the Canon Law Society of Nigeria and, in 2009 he was elected Coordinator of Research and Publication of this body till now.
He’s the fifth person that will be so appointed to the position after Ekandem, Arinze,Okojie, and Onaikan