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|Contact:||Solium Davidica, Old Igarra Rd.|
P. O. Box 425, Auchi Edo State
Tel: 08033938873, 052255605,08045066252
Gabriel Dunia > Bishop|
|History:||The Catholic Church in Afemai land or what is now the Diocese of Auchi dates back to the later part of the 19th century when the first Roman Catholic missionaries arrived at Agenebode in the present Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State and opened a mission station there. The team was led by Rt Revd Monsignor Carlo Zappa who took over as the Prefect of the Upper Niger in 1894, with headquarters at Asaba. As a Prefect, Monsignor Zappa successfully gained access into the interior and established parish stations throughout the territory now known as Benin ecclesiastical province. In Etsako, he opened a parish station at Agenebode in 1897 (the first parish station in the then Archdiocese of Benin City with Fr Peter Pioten as the first parish priest. From Agenebode, other parish stations were opened at Ivianokpodi, Iviukwe, Okpekpe and Apana.|
In 1908, he established the first Major Seminaiy in Nigeria - St Martin's Seminary - at Ivianokpodi. The seminary was later transferred to Asaba in 1927 by Bishop Broderick. Among the seminarians who moved from the seminary at Ivianokpodi to Asaba was the late Fr Paul Emechete, the first Nigerian priest, and the late Rt Revd Monsignor Joseph Agbodio Erameh, a native of Anegbette in South Uneme Clan in present Etsako Central Local Govermnent Area of Edo State.
With the death of Bishop Broderick in 1933, Bishop Leo Taylor was appointed his successor in 1934. Bishop Taylor, who came to Asaba-Benin Vicariate from Lagos where he was the principal of St Gregory's College, created Uzairue Parish in 1935, with Fr J.J. Healyas the first parish priest. Bishop Taylor ordained the first Edo priest who was also the second indigenous priest of the Vicariate Apostolic of Western Nigeria in the person of the late Rt Revd Monsignor Joseph Agbodio Erameh at Asaba on 20th December, 1936 and transferred the major seminary there to Benin City in 1938. Bishop Taylor was succeeded in the Asaba-Benin Vicariate by Bishop Patrick Joseph Kelly in the same year. The Catholic Church in Etsako, during the episcopacy of Bishop P.J. Kelly, established four secondary schools: Our Lady of Fatima College, Auchi, St John's College, Fugar, St Angela's Girls' Grammar School, Uzairue and St Peter's College. Agenebode, which were taken over by Government in 1973.
In the same 1973, Bishop Kelly retired and handed over the Diocese of Benin City to Bishop Patrick Ebosele Ekpu (now Archbishop Ekpu). Conscious of the fact that the task of evangelizing the diocese was onerous, Archbishop Ekpu worked very hard to see that many more indigenous priests were ordained and new parishes created. As at 30th December 2002, there were ten (10) parishes in Etsakoland.
As at the date of the proclamation of its creation on 4th December, 2002 the Diocese of Auchi had a total population of 723,905 out of which, 63,480 (8.8%) were Catholics, 39 priests, 37 of whom were diocesan and 2 religious 38 female religious and 14 parishes. St Thomas Moore Parish, Sobe was later added, bringing the total number of parishes to 15.
Erection of the Diocese.. 02/ 22/ 2002
First Bishop Rt Revd Dr G G Dunia