BY: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
Saturday July 10, 2022 represents a watershed in the history of the Catholic Diocese of Ogoja, Cross River State. It was a day that witnessed the investiture of the first set of “Papal Knights” of the Diocese in her 100 years of existence.
The day also saw two Priests of the Diocese promoted to the rank of Monsignors. Indeed it was a day of celebration by the Diocesan Bishop, His Lordship, Most Reverend Donatus Akpan and the parishioners of the St. Benedict’s Parish, Igoli, Ogoja.
Amongst the “Papal Knights” honoured was a former Senate Leader and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria( SAN) Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba who was decorated as a Knight of St. Sylvester (KSS) the Pope.
Also honoured in this category were Late General Anthony Ukpo (rtd) who was represented by his son, Chief Kanu Agabi, (SAN) and Dame Rita Kaka Bassey.
In addition, ten persons were honoured with the Gregorian Order as Knights and Dames of St Gregory (KSG), including Senator Prof. Sandy Onor, Col. Paul Edor Obi and Dr. Bob Eriom amongst others.
Also some Reverend Sisters were decorated with medals of recognition for their services to the Church.
While speaking to the media after the ceremony, a visibly elated Sen. Ndoma-Egba, expressed his profound gratitude to God and the Holy Sea, Pope Francis for finding his modest contributions to the Church worthy of such an exhaulted recognition.
He noted that he and other awardees have made history as the first Papal Knights of the Ogoja Diocese, adding that it is a call for more service to the Church and humanity. He pledged to continue with rendering support to the Church and the needy in the society.
To further show his appreciation to God a Thanksgiving Mass held today at the Holy Family Parish in Ikom, which is his home parish.
The visiting Rev. Fr. Bob Etta in his Homily admonished the congregation to always conduct their lives with the fear of God.
He commended and congratulated the two new Papal Knights, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba SAN, KSS and Dr. Bob Eriom, KSG for remembering to celebrate with their home parishioners.
In his remarks, Sen. Ndoma-Egba regaled the congregation with tales of his little beginnings in the Holy Family Parish, both as a Mass servant and a chorister.
The Mass was supervised by the Holy Family Parish priest, Rev. Fr. Joe-Godwin Ojorgu and also had Rev. Fr. Malachy Ephraim of St. Charles Lwanga Parish, Calabar in attendance.
Amongst the congregation were family members and friends of the new Knights including Prof. Rowland Ndoma-Egba and his wife, CP Lawrence Alobi (rtd), Prof. Cyril Ndifon and his wife, Mr. Joseph Oru, Dr. Bassey Ibor and others.