HIS LORDSHIP MOST REV. PAULINUS EZEOKAFOR
Most Rev. Paulinus Chukwuemeka Ezeokafor was born at Ifite Nanka in Orumba North Local Government Area, Anambra State, to late Mr & Mrs Raymond Enukebe und Veronica Nwasinwa Ezeokafor on the 13th of September 1952. His Excellency Bishop P. C. Ezeokafor attended the St. Anthony's Elementary School (now Central School Nwagu, Ifite Nanka) from 1959-1966 and moved over, after some delay due to the Nigeria-Biafra war, to All Hallows Minor Seminary, Onitsha. His road to the priesthood led him to the Archdiocesan Secretariat Onitsha where he did the obligatory one year pastoral experience (generally known as Apostolic Work) before the commencement of philosophical studies. In 1976 he started his studies in Philosophy at the then Bigard Memorial Seminary, Philosophy Campus, (now St. Joseph's Major Seminary) Ikot Ekpene. He ended this phase of his training to the priesthood in 1979 obtaining from the Pontifical Urban University, Rome a Bachelors Degree in Philosophy. This period was followed by four years of studies in Theological Studies at the Bigard Memorial Major Seminary, Enugu ending in 1983, again, with a Bachelors Degree in Theology offered by the Pontifical Urban University Rome. These two Major Seminaries were then Affiliates of this renowned University in Rome.
It would be over flogging the obvious to say that he received at the due time other Minor Ministries on the road to the priesthood. His ordination to the Deaconate on the 18th of December 1982 was the beginning of the journey to the fullness of the priesthood. He was ordained Catholic Priest by then Bishop Albert K. Obiefuna on 30th June 1984. After his priestly ordination and some pastoral experience as Parochial Vicar and Parish Priest, he was sent on further studies to Rome in 1982. He studied Moral Theology at the Opus Dei University Pontificio Universita Della S. Croce in Rome and obtained his Masters and Doctorate Degrees in Moral Theology.
After his return to Nigeria he served respectively from 1996-2006 and 2006-2007 as the Rector of the Diocesan Minor Seminaries: St. Dominic Savio Seminary Akpu and St John Bosco Seminary Isuaniocha. It is on record that he moved these institutions to very enviable positions. His diligence and prowess proved themselves very creditably. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop to then Diocesan Bishop Most Rev. Dr. Simon A. Okafor by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on 20th January 2007. His Episcopal Ordination was on 28th April 2007. Principal Consecrator was Archbishop Renzo Fratini then Nuncio to Nigeria, Principal Co Consecrators were Archbishop Valerian Okeke, Archbishop of Onitsha and Bishop Solomon Amamchukwu Amatu, Bishop of Okigwe. His Motto is Caritas mea cum omnibus vobis in Christo Jesu, My love is with you all in Christ Jesus. He was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese as the Diocese became vacant and appointed Bishop of Awka on 8th July 2011.
BISHOP'S COAT OF ARMS EXPLAINED
The Coat of Arms of a Bishop or a Nation is not only a mark of identity but also the symbolic depictions of the values the Bishop or Nation wants to be identified with. In the case of a Bishop, his coat of arms display generally the common symbols of the shield of faith: the sword (the upper part appears like a cross) of the Word of God, the shepherd's hat and the priestly cincture. Other elements depict a particular bishop's vision and commitment.
Bishop Ezeokafor's motto:
Caritas mea cum omnibus vobis in Christo Jesu - My love is with you all in Christ Jesus, is taken from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 16:24. It is central and unites everything in his coat of arms. As Christ the lamb of God shed His blood for the salvation of all, so must we in the spirit of love sacrifice everything, even our life for the good of others.
The chalice collecting the blood of the lamb, reminds us of the blood of the sacrifice of the cross, which is enacted at the sacrifice of the altar, where Christ continues to pour out Himself for the salvation of all. It invites us to be always disposed to be washed in the blood of the Lamb. The chalice standing on the Bible, the Word of God, reminds us of the foundation of our faith. Nourished by the Word, we can approach the altar of the Lord with better understanding, love and true devotion. The colours: violet, red, white and green represent the four colours of our vestment for Mass. Their beauty together reminds us of the source of beauty, God Himself.