Geographical area: 2,968 sq. km
Total population: 2,269,862
Religious Men: 117
Religious Women: 498
Father Joseph LUTZ C.S.Sp.: Born on 8 January 1853 in Dauendorf, Alsace; ordained Priest on 23 December 1876; arrived in Akassa port, Nigeria on 21 November 1885; reached Onitsha on 6 December 1885. Died 17 December 1895 in Merville, France.
Father Jean-Nicolas HORNÉ C.S.Sp.: Born on 2 December 1858 in Niederzeuzheim, Germany; ordained Priest in 1885; arrived in Onitsha on 6 December 1885. Died 24 January1893 in Beauvais, France.
Brother Hermas HÜCK C.S.Sp.: Born on 17 January 1866 in Strassbourg, Alsace; professed on 19 March 1885; arrived in Akassa port, Nigeria on 21 November 1885 but reached Onitsha later than Fr. Lutz. Died 12 January 1920 at sea.
Father François LÉCUYER C.S.Sp.: Born on 1 August 1861 in Guelequin, France; ordained Priest on 28 August 1887. Died on 29 November 1890 at Onitsha.
Father Joseph BUBENDORF C.S.Sp.: Born on 25 September1860 at Neuviller, Alsace; ordained Priest on 1 November 1887; arrived in Onitsha in 1888. Died on 12 February 1905 at Aguleri, Nigeria.
Father René PAWLAS C.S.Sp.: Born on 26 January 1866 at Villers-en-Argonne, France; ordained Priest on 26 May 1889; arrived in Onitsha in 1890. Died on 15 March 1900 at Onitsha.
Father Aimé GANOT C.S.Sp.: Born on 4 December 1868 at Montigny, France; arrived in Onitsha in 1894. Died on 25 November 1942 in Paris, France.
Father Charles VOGLER C.S.Sp.: Born on 20 February 1870 in Hoerdt, Alsace; arrived in Onisha in 1895. Died on 10 July 1910 at Igbariam, Nigeria.
Father Jean B. ENGASSER C.S.Sp.: Born on 6 June 1869 at Obersassheim, Alsace; ordained Priest on 1 January 1898 arrived in Onitsha in 1898. Died on 20 November 1899 at Aguleri, Nigeria.
Brother Theobald HAEGEL C.S.Sp.: Born 21 January 1875 at Oberschäffolsheim; professed on 8 September 1899; arrived in Onitsha in 1899. Died on 8 April 1903 at Onitsha.
Father Eugene RITTER C.S.Sp.: Born on 17 January 1874 at Lautenbach, Alsace; ordained Priest on 28 October 1898; arrived in Onitsha in 1899. Died on 25 February 1901 in Aguleri, Nigeria.
Father Léon LEJEUNE C.S.Sp.: Born on 24 March 1860 at Tournais-sur Dives, France; ordained Priest in 1884; arrived in Onitsha in 1900. Died on 6 September 1905 at Chevilly, France.
Most Rev. Valerian Okeke
We continually thank God for the gift of the vocation to the Priesthood abundantly given to our Archdiocese. Working in several parishes and ecclesiastical and secular institutions are many indigenous and missionary priests. For many years our priests work in other parts of the world as missionaries and assistants in religious formation houses. Their current location list shows why we are grateful to God for His generous and gratuitous gift of priestly vocation to us.
In 2007, we have 4 Episcopal regions, 20 Deaneries and 113 parishes. The ratio of priests to the lay faihful is 1 : 4,594. The harvest is indeed rich, but the labourers are few. See the administrative structure of our archdiocese.
Our Archdiocese is blessed by the presence of many religious men and women engaged in different fields of the apostolate. Listed here are the addresses of some of the congregations and institutes that have houses in our archdiocese.
Our Archdiocese is blessed with dynamic and generous lay faithful who are grouped into four statutory bodies: Catholic Women Organisation, Catholic Men Organisation, Catholic Girls Organisation and Catholic Boys Organisation. In addition, we have many other pious societies and associations that bring together the People of God.
In our Archdiocese we have one minor seminary which has already celebrated its golden jubilee in its present location at Onitsha. We have also a Theologicum, named after our model Priest, Blessed Iwene Tansi. There is also a Spiritual year seminary named after the pious Pope that promoted seminary formation, Pius X Spiritual Year Seminary at Akwa-Ukwu. Our minor seminary is called All Hallows' located at Onitsha. It started in 1924 at Igbariam. It was transfered to the present site at Onitsha in 1952. Our seminarians study in these institutions located in our archdiocese. But some of them study elsewhere in Nigeria and beyond.
Those who may want to spend some time in prayer and reflection will find here some places in the archdiocese to go. There are also good centres for international and local conferences.
CYPRIAN MICHAEL IWENE TANSI
The first person in West Africa and the first African Priest to be beatified, Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi, is from Aguleri in our Archdiocese.
5 December 1885: Onitsha established as a mission with Father Joseph Emile LUTZ C.S.Sp. as the head of the mission.
7 April 1889: Became a Prefecture with Father LUTZ as the first Apostolic Prefect.
28 September 1905: Father Joseph Ignatius SHANAHAN C.S.Sp. was appointed Apostolic Prefect.
20 April 1920: Erected Vicariate of Southern Nigeria by Pope Benedict XV.
6 June 1920: Episcopal ordination of Joseph Ignatius SHANAHAN C.S.Sp.as Apostolic Vicar of the Vicariate of Southern Nigeria. Principal Consecrator: Bishop Denis Kelly of Ross, Ireland.
27 May 1927: Episcopal ordination of Charles HEEREY C.S.Sp. as the coadjutor Bishop of the Vicariate. Principal Consecrator: Bishop Joseph Ignatius SHANAHAN C.S.Sp.
28 April 1950: Vicariate raised by Pope Pius XII to the status of Archdiocese and Metropolitan See of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province with Bishop Charles HEEREY C.S.Sp. as the first Archbishop.
29 August 1965: Episcopal ordination of Francis ARINZE as coadjutor and first indigenous bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese. Principal Consecrator: Archbishop Charles HEEREY C.S.Sp.
26 June 1967: Appointment of Bishop Francis ARINZE as Archbishop of Onitsha.
11 May 1985: Episcopal ordination of Stephen EZEANYA as the 2nd indigenous Archbishop of Onitsha. Principal Consecrator: Cardinal Francis ARINZE.
6 May 1995: Enthronement of Bishop Albert OBIEFUNA (formerly bishop of Awka) as Archbishop of Onitsha.
9 February 2002: Episcopal ordination of Valerian M. OKEKE as coadjutor Archbishop of Onitsha. Principal Consecrator: Archbishop Osvaldo PADILLA.
1 September 2003: Most Rev. Valerian Okeke became the Archbishop of Onitsha, and the Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Onitsha.
Our Archdiocese held its first Synod from 6 to 15 November 2005 (Working Session) and 4 - 10 December 2005 (Closing/Celebration Session). The opening Mass was presided over by Archbishop John Onaiyekan (Abuja) and concelebrated by our Archbishop Val. Okeke, Archbishop Obiefuna (emeritus of Onitsha), Bishop Emmanuel Otteh (emeritus of Issele Uku) and hundred of Priests. Goodwill messages were received from His Eminence Cardinal Francis Arinze (Prefect of Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Vatican City), His Eminence Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe (Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, Vatican City), His Excellency Archbishop Renzo Fratini (Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria), Bishop Hilary Odili Okeke (Bishop of Nnewi) and many many others. The concluding Mass was presided over by Cardinal Francis Arinze. There was Nuntius at the end of the Synod...
A list of websites that may be of interest to those who visit our webpages: information about the Vatican city, Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria, Dioceses of Nigeria, Church in Africa, news about Nigeria,etc. There is something for everyone...