Owelli Region

Agbogugu (St. John's)
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Agbogugu (St. Jame's)
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Agbogugu (St. Peter's)
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Agbudu (Holy Trinity)
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Amoli (St. Gregory's)
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Ihe (St. Mary's)


The history of Catholic Church Ihe will not be complete without mentioning how the propagation of faith reached South Eastern Nigeria.

The director of the propagation of faith of the Holy Ghost Congregation in Parishes decided to plant Catholic Mission in South Eastern Nigeria otherwise known as the Lower Niger.
In August 1885 Rev. Fr. Joseph Emile Luiz CSSp was appointed to lead a team of Holy Ghost Missionaries to plant Catholic Mission in the lower Niger. The team set sail from Paris via England down to Sierra lone and later landed at Onitsha the Holy Trinity grounding perpetuity free of all tributes and dues.
The Missionaries on their part in gratitude for this concession undertook to provide formal education for the children of the local community. These children were taught Catholic doctrine and secular subjects like English writing, reading and Arithmetic. This was the method the missionaries used throughout their evangelization periods. That is why the school/church went hand in hand and often times share the same building.

After setting in Onitsha they started moving into the hinterland mostly on invitation by the local chiefs.
Chief Onyeama of Eke invited the missionaries to settle at Eke. In 1918 Rev. Fr. Joachim Correia CSSP and Rev. Fr. Davey CSSP were sent to Eke. They settled at Eke and started to evangelize the towns around Eke.
The Chiefs of Awgu, Mmaku, Mgbowo and Ihe applied to the missionaries at Eke to come and open up mission stations In their towns. Eke - Enugu - Awgu axis was formed and opened. Rev. Fr. Marcel Gradin CSSp was detailed to evangelize the area.

In 1920 late Chief Agunevo Otusa invited the missionaries at Eke to come to Ihe and open a mission station. On 5th April, 1920. Mr. John Okere of Obosi was sent to Ihe to open the station. He was the first station teacher/catechist for Ihe. Chief Agunevo Otusa gave the Catholic Mission Mkpu-utu for the school and church.
In 1926 Late Chief Agunevo Otusa was removed from chieftaincy stool and the school was closed for security reasons. In 1927 late Chief Ekonta Nwankwo was given warrant to rule Ihe town. In 1928 late Chief Ekonta re-applied for the re-opening of Ihe station. Mr. Manias Nwanagbaoso was sent to Ihe as a station teacher/catechist. Late chief Ekonta harboured the school and the church in his Nkolo (house) and later transferred to Udala Eko Ogu-nuo in Umusike Village.
In 1930 the school/church was moved again to Aniogwo along Awgu Enugu Old road. Then, Mr. Bernard Dilike was the station teacher/catechist. In 1935 the Roman catholic Mission Ihe was transferred to Mkpu-utu again as there was no room for expansion in the present site.

Mr. Richard Enekwe was the station teacher/catechist for Ihe. All these years the station was known and called Roman Catholic Mission (RCM) Ihe, it was in 1940 that the name was changed to St. Mary's Catholic Mission Ihe. The Station St. Mary's Ihe was carved out from Eke to Mmaku 1939, from Mmaku to Udi 1945, from Udi to Agbani 1950, from Agbani to Awgu in 1951, from Awgu to Owelli in 1954 and in 1991 the station became a one town parish, Ihe station helped to build the above mentioned mother parishes before becoming a parish of her own in 1991. Thanks be to God. In 1991 St. Mary's Station became a one town parish with Rev. Fr. Charles EC. Ukagha as the first Parish priest, during Ukagha's tenure there was religious crisis which divided the Christians; Rev. Fr. Ukagha unfortunately left Ihe Parish unceremoniniously as a result of one said crisis. Rev. Fr. A. Okeke was appointed sole administrator for the parish after him.
In 1994 Rev. Fr. Joseph Offor was posted to Ihe Parish. He left the parish after a brief stay for further studies overseas. Rev. Fr. Bartholomew Asogwa of Blessed memory took over the pasturing of the parish from Rev. Fr. Offor and was later sent to Agbani parish.
But in 1995 Rev. Fr. Theophilus Morgan Nnaji replaced him as the parish priest and in 1995 Rev. Fr. Morgan Nnaji and Ihe community nurtured the idea of building a parish church for Ihe town to accommodate the ever increasing population of Ihe Church the young social, resourceful and charismatic priest, "Nwa Balu Uno Di Mma a goal getter" united the whole town that was religiously in pieces into one common front for the building in 1998, under two years. He laid the foundation in 1997, and roofed the building in 1998, under two years. He was transferred to St. George's parish, Ndeabor Aninri Local Governemnt Area. He handed the Darish over to a highly learned and experienced priest, late Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Anike.

Late Dr. Fr. E. Anike religiously handed over to Rev. Fr. P. Offu who in turn handed over our in-fatigable priest Rev. Fr. F.N. Okolie who worked for four years and was sent to Rome for further studies by Bishop Ifeanyichukwuu Okoye. On 28th July 2009, Rev. Fr. EN. Okolie after working for four years without rest handed over to Rev. Fr. Patrick Ndubisi, Bishop's Personal Secretary. In turn Fr. Patrick Ndubisi handed over to a Very Rev. Fr. Matthew Eze, whose silver jubilee, as a priest was celebrated on 14th November, 2010. God take Glory!!!
Ihe parish during, Ninety two years under the Roman Catholic Mission was able to produce seven Rev. Frs. And seven Rev. Sisters. By the grace of God in a near future she will produce more priest and Sisters. To God be the Glory!!

Compiled by: CHIEF LE. OKEKE
For President Laity Council Ihe Parish
CHIEF B.O. OKEKE (Omene Ihu Nnaya)
Current Secretary Parish Finance Council


Ihe (St. Patrick's)
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Ituku (St. Anthony's)

St. Anthony's Parish Ituku was carved out from St. John's Parish Agbogugu in November 4th 2006 by Most Rev. John I. Okoye, the pioneer bishop of Awgu Diocese.

The pioneer parish priest was Rev. Fr. Jovita I. Ibeh who was transferred on the 31st January 2013 and was replaced by Rev. Fr. Nnaemeka Nwadu. The parish has no out station but has nine zones corresponding to the nine villages.

The Zones are:
1. St. Paul Amokolo
2. St. Anthony Umukulu
3. St. Augustine Ugwunagbo
4. St. Mary Amata
5. Sacred Heart Okwenachalla 6. St. Jude Ofeiyi
7. St. Theresa Umuwota
8. Holy Family Umuowo
9. St. Peter Umuonyiba

The names of parish Council members are:

Rev. Fr. Nnaemeka Nwadu   (Chairman)
Mr. Edwin Okonkwo   (Vice Chairman)
Mr. Okwudili Okafor     (Secretary)
Chief John N. Okeke
Hon. Rose Emenike
Mr. Alexander Ozoude
Mr. Romanus Chukwu
Elizabeth Ujam
Ikechukwu Ujam
Reginald Ujam
Clement Okoli
Lucy Umeh
Emmanuel Okafor
Francis Ujam
Anthony Anioke
Albert Nebo
Moses Nebo
Patrick Ngeneoke
Eunice Ngeneoke
Emmanuel Chukwu
Sylvester Owoh
Theresa Okafor
Beatrice Okoye I.
Lawrence Maduabuchi
Declan Nwadioha
Matilda Ngeneoke
Angela Okonkwo
Stephen Okeke
Veronica Atu
Janet Nweke
Ambrose Okonkwo C.
Philomina Onu


Ogbaku (St. Dominic's)
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Ogugu (St. Mary's)


The Roman Catholic Church in Ogugu town is an offshoot of this mother church from greater Owelli Parish. The founder of this church and school that were in separable in Ogugu was Chief Nwogbodo Aniude and his supporters in 1936. His supporters included: Chief Chukwu Okolie, Councilor Igbokwe Madu, Councilor Ude Cjoke, Councilor Chukwu Ofido, Councilor Chuwku Nwonye, Councilor Chukwu Onuoha, Councilor Ngene Oguolie, Councilor Chuwkuntaa Ani and Councilor Ani Chukwude.


Since the Church and the school were interwoven, the heads of various Catholic Schools then were automatically the catechists or Directors of Spiritual activities in their different areas. As a result f this situation, St. Mary's Catholic Church Ogugu is not left out this system of imparting knowledge as well as directing the people's spiritual life in one and the same breath.

The underlisted persons featured since the church and the school were founded in Ogugu town
1. Mr. Lawrence Egbujo   - Headmaster cum Catechist from Emekuku in Owerri
2. Mr. Aaron Okafor    - Headmaster cum Catechist from Aguleri
3. Mr. Peter Amu    - Headmaster cum Catechist from Udi
4. Late Mr. Julius Uche    - Headmaster cum Catechist from Isikwe Achi
5. Late Mr. Ambrose Okonkwo   - Catechist from Ogugu
6. Late Mr. Cyprain Onuoha   - Catechist from Ogugu
7. Mr. Bartholomew Okonkwo   - Catechist from Ogugu
8. Mr. Donatus Egbo    - Catechist from Ogugu
9. Mr. Benignus Onovo    - Catechist from Ogugu till date

It seems that the spell that held Ogugu people was broken on the above caption when on 6th November 2004 one our illustrious daughters Rev. Sr. Jacinta Eziamaka Emenike took her first vow in the community of Sisters f Jesus the Good Shepherd at Abakaliki. In another breath one of our illustrious sons Rev. Fr. Ikenna M. Onovo in August 2006 clinched the Olympian Priestly office with his colleagues as they were ordained priests of God in the order of Melchizedek by His Lordship Most Rev. Dr. J. I. Okoye, Bishop of Awgu Diocese.

In this same 2006, St. Mary's Station was elevated to the prestige of a parish with Very Rev. Fr. Robert C. Ugwuogo as the first Parish Priest. Presently the second Parish Priest of St. Mary's Parish s Very Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Anugwo with the following parish council members.

1. Sir F. C. Uchenwa (JP)
2. Ezinna Okafor Silas
3. Mr. Benignus onovo (Catechist)
4. Mr. Donatus Egbo (Asst. Catechist)
5. Mr. Peter Okeke
6. Lady Ezinne E. N. Uchenwa (JP)
7. Mr. Ude Raphael
8. Mrs. Okafor Janet
9. Mrs. Okonkwo Patricia
10. Mrs. Rita Onovo
11. Mr. Ernest K, Chukwunweike
12. Miss Egbo Adaku
13. Miss Mirabel Aniche
14. Master Johnpaul Okolie


Owelli (St. John's)

Evangelization reached Owelli Community in 1918 through the Irish Catholic Missionaries. The Church started simultaneously with the school the same year, and we were under Eke Parish. In course of time, we came under Mmaku Parish. By 1956, we were under Awgu Parish, and then in 1959, Owelli Parish was carved out by Archbishop Heerey, the Archbishop of Onitsha. Rev. Fr. Tim Buckley was the first Parish Priest under his Lordship, Late Bishop Anyiogu.

St. John's Parish, Owelli was composed of eleven stations namely:

1. St. John's Catholic Church, Owelli    1918
2. St. Dominic Catholic Church, Ogbaku    1920
3. St. Mary's Catholic Church, Ihe    1920
4. St. Anthony's Catholic Church, Ituku    1926
5. St. John's Catholic Church, Agbogugu    1926
6. Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Agbudu    1930
7. St. Mary's Catholic Church, Ogugu    1930
8. St. Gregory's Catholic Church, Amoli    1931
9. St. Anthony's Catholic Church, Ugbonabo   1933
10. St. Bridget's Catholic Church, Ngeneugbo    1935
11. St. John's Catholic Church, Eziama Igbaku    1935

The stations has at present turned to big Parish as follows:
1. St. Mary's Parish, Ihe    1990
2. St. John's Parish, Agbogugu    1994
3. St. Gregory's Parish, Amoli    1999
4. St. Dominic's Parish, Ogbaku    2006
5. St. Anthony's Parish, Ituku    2006
6. St. Mary's Parish, Ogugu    2006
7. St. Anthony's Parish, Ugbonabo    2007
8. Holy Trinity Parish, Agbudu    2007

The growth of Owelli Parish into parishes, by the special grace of God has given rise to the Great Parish becoming Owelli Region in the Catholic Diocese of Awgu today.
It is a thing of joy to mention here that the pioneer Catholic Bishop of Awgu Dioces, Most Rev. John Ifeanyoichukwu Okoye is from Owelli Parish. St. John's Parish, Owelli had numerous priests, Reverend Sisters and brothers and seminarians.
The Parish land measures 22.15 acres. Owelli Community donated expanse of land top the Catholic Mission with the intention that it will contain the Parish Church, Parish House, Nursery, Primary and Secondary school, Hospital and Rev. Sisters Residence.

The old parish house was built in 1960, under supervision of Rev. Fr. Tim Buckley. The present parish house started in 1980 under Rev. FR. Ezeugwu. The pro-cathedral foundation started in the 1985 under the same Rev. Fr. Ezeugwu. Architect Dan Udeh produced the building g plan. The Site Engineer was R.J.O. Igwensi.
The Iron work was done by Citadel Building Company. Long span Roofing sheets went up the building in 1991 by Robertson Building Company.

The parish house funding was by launching, levies and donations from the stations that make up the parish, while the Church building was funded by Owelli station and well wishers through launchings, donations, levies, special help from CWO home and abroad, and help from Rome through the appeal by Rev. FR. J. I. Okoye (now the Bishop Okoye if Awgu).
In 1994, Rev. Fr. A.A. Chukwu started the Nursery, Primary and Secondary school project.
List of Parish Priests of Owelli parish since inception:

1. Rev. Fr. Tim Buckley    1959 – 1964
2. Rev. Fr. MC Carthy    1964 - 1965
3. Rev. Fr. F.O. Dwyer    1965 - 1966
4. Rev. Fr. B. Darcy 1966 - 1968 5. Rev. Fr. MC Glade    Jan 1969 – 1974
6. Rev. Fr. P. Dinan    Jan 1973 - 1976
7. Rev. Fr. Isaac Ezeh (CSSP)    Jan 1973 – 1976
8. Rev. Fr. D. M. Odiegwu (CSSP)    Jan 1973 - 1979
9. Rev. FR. Peter Osuchukwu and
Rev. Christopher Anyanwuazuka    Jan 1981
10. Rev. FR. C.N. Orji    Jan 1981 - 1985
11. Rev. Fr. A. I. Ezeugwu    1985 - 1989
12. Rev. Fr. T. Anayanwu    April –September 1989
13. Rev. Fr. A. Egbo    25th September, 1989 – 1991
14. Rev. Fr. M. C. Onyehalu    May 1991 – 1993
15. Rev. Fr. A. A. Chukwu    1993 – 1997
16. Rev. Fr. P. E. Agu    August 1997
17. Rev. Fr. Ignatius Okpara
18. Rev. FR. Martin Orjianioke
19. Rev. Fr. Peter Ogbonna
20. Rev. Fr. Johnbosco Ibekwe    November, 2009
21. Rev. Fr. Afam Ozonoh    December, 2009 – Till Date.

Finally, the present St. John's Parish is made up of four stations:

1. St. Mary's Station, Enugu Owelli
2. Holy Family Station, Amaebor Owelli
3. Holy Trinity Station, Umuhu Owelli
4. St. Patrick's Station, Awono Owelli

For enhancement of evangelization to the grassroots, the stations was further divided into Zones, we have ten zones that makes up the parish

1. St. Peter's Zone    Enugu Owelli
2. St. Paul's Zone    Enugu Owelli
3. St. Michael's Zone    Amabor Owelli
4. St. Jude's Zone    Amabor Owelli
5. St Joseph's Zone    Amabor Owelli
6. St. Gabriel's Zone    Umuhu Owelli
7. St. Raphael's Zone    Umuhu Owelli
8. St. Anthony's Zone    Umuhu Owelli
9. St. Patrick's Zone    Awono Owelli
10. Immaculate Heart Zone

St. John's Parish has 3 Religious Organization:

I. C.M.O
We have also Pius / Religious societies like:
I. Legion of Mary
II. St. Anthony's
III. Rosa Mystica
IV. Block Rosary Crusade
V. Altar Boys And Girls
VI. Charismatic Renewal
VII. Laity Council – the Umbren

The present St. John's Parish has Five (5) Priests:

I. Most Rev. Dr. John I. Okoye (Bishop of Awgu Diocese)
II. Rev. Fr. Bartholomew Aniebo
III. Rev. Fr. Hillary Okeke
IV. Rev. Fr. Anthony Anioke
V. Rev. Fr. Obinna Okoye

Numerous Rev. Sisters and Seminarians spread throughout the world. We Have 2 main councils in the church – the Pastoral Council and the Finance Council.
The Parish Pastoral Council is the highest council in the church, at Owelli Parish. They work in collaboration with the Parish Priest to see that things are moving well. The Finance Council takes charge of all the "money" (Income & Expenditure) in the parish.
These are the members of Parish Pastoral Council (2009 – Date):

1. Rev. Fr. Afam Ozonoh -    Chairman
2. Chief Daniel Nwabueze -    Vice Chairman
3. Innocent Okeke -    Secretary
4. Innocent Omurum -    Treasurer / C.M.O Chairman
5. Hyacinth Okoye -    Financial Secretary
6. Helen Okechukwu -    Assistant Secretary
7. Okafor MaryRose
These are the Finance Members (2009 – Date)

1. Rev. Fr. Afam Ozonoh -    Chairman
2. Sir Innocent Onuorah
3. Mrs. Ngozi Anita
4. Mrs. Theresa
5. Mrs. Philomena Anioke
6. Hyacinth Okoye


Ugbonabor (St. Anthony's)

This parish was carved out of St. John's Parish Owelli court in Noveber 27the 2007, by Most Rev. John I Okoye with Rev. Fr. Ikenna Ejinaka and the pioneer Parish Priest. It has two formally to stations, namely, St. Anthony's station which started in 1933 and St. Bridget's station which started in1936. The parish centre is at St. Anthony station Ugbounabor and out station is St. Bridget Ngene Ugbor.
These two station was created by the first Irish Priest that worked at St. John Parish Owelli, Rev. Fr. Brushamaham, with tow catchiest teachers namely Mr Jacob Anigbo of Eke at St. Anthony station and Mr. Edward Ogbonna of Oghe at St. Bridget station Ngene Ugbo Currently.

St. Anthony's parish has ten active zones namely;
1. St. Jude's Awaebe
2. St. Michael's Isiakpu
3. St. Paul's Umuagulu
4. Mary's Ugwunangwu
5. Francis Umuhojode
6. St. Mary's Ugwuede
7. Paul's Awgu-Ngene
8. St. John's Umuokpa
9. St. Peter's Upkammanu
10. St. Theresa's Oyibo
11. St. Francis Ugbokpala

1. Mr. Okafor Francis (vice Chairman)
2. Hon. Patrick Anugwo. (Secretary)
3. Sir. Emeome treasurer
4. Ozor. Alexander Ogbuka
5. Ozor. Ferdinand Chukwu
6. Mr. Donatus Okeke
7. Mr. Emeome James
8. Mrs. Orji Josphine
9. Mr. Chukwuaji Francis


Copyright 2013 Awgu Diocese