EPISCOPAL ORDINATION OF BISHOP HILARY N. DACHELEM, CMF
On 17th August, 2017 Most Rev Hilary Nanman Dachelem, CMF was consecrated the 3rd Catholic Bishop of Bauchi. The grandeur occasion took place at the Multi-Purpose Indoor Sports Hall, Bauchi, Bauchi State.
The Principal Consecrator at the inculturated Eucharistic Celebration was His Grace Most Rev Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, while His Grace Most Rev Dr Anthony J. V. Obinna, the Archbishop of Owerri and Most Rev Wilfred Anagbe, CMF were the Co-Consecrators.
Present at the event were the new Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, His Excellency Most Rev Antonio Filipazzi, His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan, and 19 other bishops, over 500priests, the religious, government and traditional dignitaries, the crème de la crème of the society, and people from all walks of life devoid of ethnic and religious affiliations.
The homilist, Most Rev Anthony Obinna who centred his message on the readings of the day (Jeremiah 1:4-7, Psalm 23, 1 Peter 4:7-11, John 15:9-17) said that the ordination of Bishop Dachelem is a source of consolation to the Diocese of Bauchi considering the fact that the young diocese which was created in 2004 lost its pioneer Bishop John Moore, SMA and his successor Bishop Malachy Goltok within a short space of time, 2010 and 2015 respectively. “It is a consolation, the Archbishop explains, because it helps us to appreciate the never-say-die spirit of the early missionaries despite all the difficulties they faced. The appointment is a source of consolation to the entire church which through the anointing of the new bishop will imbue him with the perfect love of Christ which casts out fear”.
“Unfortunately, fear has become an enigmatic problem and dominant feature of the Nigerian life where there is mistrust, distrust and discrimination against one another. Fear based on unhealthy rivalry and claims. Fear based on prejudices and inadequate appreciation of one another. All the fights, agitations that come from the various segments of Nigeria are products of fear. We fear each other and set up barriers to avoid each other, when we should be caring for one another as God’s children. Nigerians, with their legitimate religious, cultural and tribal diversities can profit our nation enormously with the perfect love which Bishop Dachelem seeks for his life and ministry. This kind of love is what St Peter in the second reading of the day calls intense love for each other which covers the multitude of sins”.
The Archbishop further explains that this intense love can be categorized into three:
- Welcoming Love
- Cross-Boundary Love
- Cross-Bearing Love
Welcoming Love – The Supreme Master of welcoming love is our Lord Jesus Christ who so opened his heart and home that the important people of his society complained about him to his disciples saying, “ Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners” (Lk15:2). The new bishop is now not just an individual person but also a corporate person in the Nigerian society. He needs to have a heart of welcome to everyone. All of us should be agents of welcoming love to avoid the mistrust and discrimination that now exists amongst us as a people.
Cross Boundary Love – This kind of love is exemplified in the life of Christ who crossed the restricted Jewish purity life to the Samaritan and Gentile regions to unify the scattered children of God. The new bishop is to cross Nigeria’s purity and boundary lines to unify God’s children. The homilist further explained that Bishop Dachelem had followed the footsteps of his Master as a missionary who sets no boundaries in his ministry. This is evident in his work amongst the Igbos in the South East of Nigeria. The Archbishop decried that fact that man-made boundaries make us to be enemies and not enjoy the benefits and beauty of Nigeria as a country. And so, the new bishop is to cross Nigeria’s multiple purity and boundary lines to unify the scattered children of God into one peaceful, healthy and ‘conviving’ family and not just a surviving family. The spirit of ‘convivance,’ as found in our traditional society is the way forward,.
Cross-Bearing Love – The cross-bearing love is shown in the life of Christ who beared all the assaults and humiliations meted out to him dignifyingly and patiently yet, loving all his tormentors and crucifiers. He died with the prayer for forgiveness: ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’. The bishop should be willing to participate in the ‘cruci-humiliation’ of Christ (he was crucified so as to be humiliated), who laid down his life for his flock.
Finally, Archbishop Obinna commended the new bishop and the Diocese of Bauchi into the maternal intercession of the Blessed Mother, Queen Assumed into Heaven.
Bauchi Diocese covers the present Bauchi and Gombe States. The Diocese has a population of about 6.7miillion that spans through the two states. Out of the population about 70,000 are Catholics.
It would be recalled that on May 31, 2017, Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Hilary Dachelem, CMF as the Bishop of Bauchi. Born on June 3 1966 in Jos Plateau State, after his primary and secondary education, he joined the Claretian Missionaries in 1986. He made his first profession on September 8, 1988 at Utonkon Benue State and his final vows on September 13 1993 at Nekede Owerri Imo State. He was ordained a priest on July 1, 1995
Bishop Dachelem holds the following Academic qualifications: B.Phil Philosophy, MA Theology, MBA Project Management, M.A Christian Spirituality. He is a doctoral student in Public Analysis and Public Administration at the University of Abuja.
He has also exercised his priestly ministry in various capacities:
- Bursar and Lecturer, Claretian Institute of Philosophy (1995-1999)
- Claretian Provincial Bursar and Consultor(1999-2005)
- Member General economic Council, Rome (2003-2006)
- Prefect of spirituality and Consultor (2005-2010)
- Parish Priest St Maria Goretti Ikenegbu, Owerri Archdiocese (2005-2010)
- Parish Priest St John Mary Vianney Parish Kwande, Shendam Diocese(2010-2017)
- Priest-in-Charge, Church of the Immaculate conception, Upper Hill , Makurdi Diocese (2017-appointment)
- Lecturer Catechetical Institute , Shendam (2010-2015)
- Vicar for Religious Shendam Dices (2010-2017)