Saturday December 7th, 2019, Written Entrance Examination for the 2020/2021 Aspirants (External Candidates) at Bishop Nwedo Memorial Boys High School, Ossah. Time: 10.00am

Father_Founder FAMILY BACKGROUND
Bishop Anthony Gogo Nwedo, C.S.Sp., was born into the Nzeribe Royal Family in the ancient and beautiful city of Oguta in 1912. His great grandfather, Eze Onumonu, was the Obi of Oguta. His father was the late Nwedo Nzeribe and his mother was Mrs. Monica Ubelife Nwedo also of blessed memory, both of Umudei village in Oguta. He was the first son of his parents. Gogo Nwedo was born when his uncle, Chief Akpati Nzeribe, was the Warrant Chief of Oguta. In fact, the small Catholic Church in Oguta the known as “Uka Akpati” was built quite close to the Warrant Chief’s home for security reasons. Certainly this nearness of the Church to the family must have influenced Gogo’s choice for vocation.

Anthony Gogo Nwedo attended Sacred Heart primary School Oguta and Government Primary School Owerri between 1925 and 1927. He completed his primary school education at Christ the King School Aba in 1929. He taught in this school in 1930.

In 1931, young Anthony Gogo Nwedo entered St. Paul’s Minor Seminary Onitsha though he was studying at the famous St. Charles College Onitsha for the Teacher’s Higher Elementary Certificate. After his course (Higher Elementary) in 1934 he moved to Christ the King College (CKC) Onitsha and continued with his studies as a junior seminarian till 1936. He taught there during this period too.

Between 1938 and 1942 he studied at St. Paul’s Major Seminary, Enugu for the philosophy programme. From 1942 to 1945 he did his Theology course which he completed at Okpala Owerri (now St. Peter Claver Seminary)

PRIESTLY ORDINATION
On July 29th, 1945, Anthony Gogo Nwedo was ordained a priest by Bishop Charles Heerey, C.S.Sp., along with his close associate late Rev. Msgr. Edward Ahaji at Holy Trinity Cathedral Onitsha. His was a definitely painstaking road to the Holy Orders.

PRIESTLY CAREER
The first parish of his priestly apostolate was St. Joseph’s Idah, now in Kogi State under Rev. Fr. John Cross Anyogu, the late first Bishop of Enugu Diocese. His ministry there though of a short duration was remarkable and rewarding. “Father Keke,” as he was fondly called at Idah, was very hardworking and obedient to his superiors.

In 1947, he proceeded to the National University of Ireland, Dublin, where he read for and obtained his B.A. degree in 1950. He went a step further in his priestly vocation when he joined the Holy Ghost Father’s Novitiate at Kilshane, County Tipperary, Ireland and was professed in 1951 as FATHER ANTHONY MARY NWEDO, C.S.Sp. He thus became the First Nigerian Holy Ghost Father.

ON HIS RETURN TO NIGERIA HE WORKED IN THE FOLLOWING PLACES
1. Junior Seminary Okpala, Owerri 1951-1952
2. Vice Principal, Bishop Shanahan Training College, and Parish Priest, Orlu Parish, 1952 – 1955
3. Pioneer Principal, Madonna High School Ihitte, 1956-1958
4. Principal, Holy Ghost College, Owerri, 1958
5. Principal, (recalled), Madonna High School Ihitte, January – July 1959

LIFE AS A BISHOP
Father_Founder While Rev. A. Nwedo, C.S.Sp., was at Madonna High School, Ihitte, as a Principal for the second time, he was appointed the first indigenous residential Bishop of the newly created Diocese of Umuahia. He accepted the appointment with a deep sense of humility and surrender to the will of God.

Thus on Pentecost Sunday, May 17, 1959, he was ordained the Bishop of Umuahia Diocese at Christ the King Church (CKC), Aba.

Bishop Anthony Gogo Nwedo, C.S.Sp., inherited a relatively large Diocese spanning over three zones namely’ Okigwe, Aba and Umuahia. The new Diocese was equally inadequately served by twenty one priests out of which only nine were Nigerians. He personally described the situation as follows: “The Diocese could then be likened to a field overgrown with weeds and grambles, a farm longing for labourers, a rich virgin soil waiting for farmers, but the available labourers were very few, the work too tedious, and the conditions of service by no means attractive.” In a definite response to the above situation he embarked upon the training of indigenous personnel for the new Diocese. The Immaculate Conception Junior Seminary, Ahiaeke, Umuahia, was established in 1960 and he sent many of his priests and senior seminarians overseas for further training.

As an eloquent testimony of this, the Imo State University, now Abia State University, while conferring on him the honorary Doctor of Letters degree observed in 1986 “…In no Diocese of the Catholic Church in Africa has there been a large collection of clergymen who have been helped to develop both their intellect and enrich their faith through secular and religious education as in Umuahia Diocese.”

Bishop Nwedo inherited one Diocese and eleven parishes but handed over three Dioceses and seventy parishes to his successors at different points in time. In addition, the first indigenous Bishops of Owerri and Orlu Diocese, Bishop Mark Unegbu and Bishop Gregory Ochiagha, respectively, served in various capacities in Umuahia Diocese before their Episcopal appointments.

And to complement the clergy in their ever-growing tasks of evangelization in the Diocese, he founded the Congregations of the Daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy (DMMM) in 1961 and the Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy (SMMM) in 1970. These Congregations today serve the Church and humanity in many ways from education to health care delivery.

Indeed, Bishop Nwedo’s contribution in the provisions of quality education is unequalled in the history of voluntary agency participation in the education of the people. It is incontrovertibly claimed that, “No Bishop of his generation has done as much as he has to educate and instruct the young.” We still remember with nostalgia former Mercy High Schools strategically located all over the old Umuahia Diocese. The forceful takeover of these schools in 1970 along with hundreds of primary schools built by his administration, is a colossal loss to the Diocese and to the morality of the people. Education has not and will never be the same again in this part of the nation.

In addition to providing quality education for the Diocese, Bishop Nwedo embarked upon an ambitious project – to build a befitting place of worship for Umuahia Diocese. He laid the foundation stone of the Cathedral and appointed Rev. Fr. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, now Bishop Ugorji of Umuahia Diocese, the site liaison officer for the project with specific responsibilities towards the realization of this Cathedral where we are all gathered today for this occasion.

HONOURS AND AWARDS
1. Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
2. Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) 1971
3. Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) Honoris Causa, Imo (now Abia) State University, 1986

THE PIONEER
1. First son of his parents
2. First priest from Oguta
3. First indigenous Holy Ghost Father
4. First indigenous Clergy to head a college
5. First indigenous residential Bishop in Nigeria
6. First indigenous Bishop to found a Congregation
7. Co-founder of the now nationwide Knights of St. Mulumba (KSM)
8. Member, Second Vatican Council.

RETIREMENT AND LEGACY
Bishop Nwedo has truly left his footprint in the sands of time. He who was Bishop of one Diocese left behind to his successors three Dioceses at the point of his retirement in1990, viz: Okigwe, Aba and Umuahia (OAU) Dioceses with Bishop A. E. Ilonu, V.V. Ezeonyia and L. I. Ugorji respectively as their Ordinaries. He would also be fondly remembered for many things including the founding of schools, hospitals and clinics in parts of the old Umuahia Diocese.

ABA ZONE
Educational institutions (post primary)
St. Ephraim’s Secondary School, Owerrinta
National High School, Ogbor Hill, Aba
Mercy High School, Mbausi
Mercy Juniorate, Amapu Ntigha
Annunciation Junior Seminary, Amaudara
Hospital
St. Joseph’s Hospital, Ohabaiam, Aba

OKIGWE ZONE
Educational Institutions
Annunciation Secondary School, Isiukwuato
Aquinas Secondary School, Osu Mbano
Madonna High School, Ihitte
Mercy Girls’ Secondary School, Umuezeala, Owerre Ehime
Mercy Girls’ High School, Okigwe
Teachers’ Training College (Women), Ehime
Teachers’ Training College, Uboma
Hospitals
Mercy Hospital, Umulogho Obowo
Mercy Hospital, Okwelle

UMUAHIA ZONE
Educational Institutions
Immaculate Conception Seminary, Ahiaeke
Coronata Boys High School, Ohafia
St. Anthony’s Secondary School, Ohafia
Mercy High School, Ozu Abam
Sancta Crux, Olokoro
Loretto Boys’ High School, Ossah
Hospitals
Mercy Hospital, Ihechiowa, Arochukwu L. G. A

It is equally strikingly noteworthy to recall that to symbolically mark the Golden Jubilee celebration of his ordination to the Catholic priesthood, the event of which took place at the Mater Dei Cathedral Umuahia, on July 15th, 1995, this Legend, Pioneer, Father, Founder and Path-finder ordained 12 priests.

THE LAST DAYS OF BISHOP ANTHONY GOGO NWEDO
After his retirement in 1990 Bishop Nwedo remained very active as a Pastor of souls, teaching catechism, hearing confessions and celebrating public masses often three times on Sundays. In 1997 when he began experiencing some reverses in the state of his health, he became less active. In the last year of his life, he was confined to his bed and was tormented by pains. While he was being wracked by the pains of his daily-increasing sickness, he exhibited even deeper faith and full trust in the Lord who alone has the power to save him. On 12th February, 2000 he was called to rest and to receive the reward of his labours.