Professor Stephen Ikani Ocheni has been investitured into the Knights of Saint Gregory the Great for his defence of the Catholic church and services to God and humanity
The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Idah , Most Rev.(Dr.) Anthony Ademu Adaji, while performing the investiture on Professor Stephen Ikani Ocheni on behalf of Pope Francis at Saint Boniface Church Idah on Saturday, said, henceforth, he has become the global defender of the Catholic faith and the purveyor of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
He noted that the conferment of knight of Saint Gregory,- the highest award in the papalcy – on the erudite professor was in recognition of his tract record in defence of his faith.
He urged him to redouble and rededicate his service to God through out his lifetime.
Bishop Adaji, disclosed that the honour which was approved in march this year, and September 12 every year was earmarked for the investiture, but due to his tight schedule, it was shifted to today for the glory of God.
Taking his scriptures from the books of Acts of the Apostles chapter 6 verses 1-6, and Matt 20 vers 25-27 , the Bishop emphasis that he who want to be a leader , must first be servant of the people.
He admonished him to shun all forms appearance of sins and embrace righteousness which is the hallmark of Christianity.
He added that,the Pope and the entire Catholic ministry and Christendom are looking unto him for the propagation of the gospel with his personal character, integrity and piety to humanity.
The celebrator, professor Ocheni, who was overwhelmed with Joy, Commended the Bishop of Idah Diocese, Most Rev. Anthony Adaji for spotting him, stressing that without the Bishop, pope Francis wouldn’t have conferred the award on him.
He pledge to dedicate his life to the service of Idah Diocese and universal Catholic.
He disclosed that his life was full of adversaries and blessings, adding that it was the hand of God that saved him from the helicopter clash in Kabba, kogi state in 2019.
He called for adherence of intercessory power of Mary, mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and total commitment to the work of God.
The former Minister, who is now the Defender and General in the Lord’s Army thanked the laymen and priests and well wishers who graced the occasion and pray that God will continue to provide and protect them.
In a congratulatory message, the Former Chairman of Kogi Council of NUJ , Alhaji Alih Atabor, said , the award by Pope Francis is an indication of the many contributions of Professor Stephen Ocheni to the Catholic community and humanity in general.
” This universal award did not come to many as a surprise because Professor Stephen Ocheni has been selfless and committed to his religious faith.
I am particularly delighted that Pope Francis found the former Minister worthy of the recognition, and said that the award will spur the awardee to render more meritorious services to the Catholic community .
Alhaji Ali Atabor also commended Professor Stephen Ocheni for using his positions, especially when he served as a Minister to attract several development projects to the state.