Pope Francis appointed Fr. Jonas Benson Okoye as auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Awka, Nigeria.
Jonas BensonOkoye was born in Kaduna, Nigeria, in 1963 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He studied theology and canon law at the Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt, and holds a licentiate in canon law from St. Paul’s University, Ottawa, Canada, and a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome.
He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including vicar of St. John’s Parish, Ezinfite; priest of St. Peter’s Parish, Oko; defender of the bond at the ecclesiastical tribunal of Awka; priest of St. John’s Parish, Neni and deputy judicial vicar of the Diocese of Awka; and priest of the Immaculate Conception Heart Parish, Ekwulobia.
He is currently priest of the parish of St. Matthew, Amawbia, judicial vicar of the Diocese of Awka, judge of the interdiocesan ecclesiastical tribunal of Onitsha, and president of the Nigerian Society of Canon Law.
The Diocese of Awka has a population of some 1.7 million, 800,000 of whom are Catholics. They are served by only around 330 priests and 165 religious.