Vatican City. At noon today in Rome, October 14, 2023, the Vatican announced Pope Francis’ appointment of Rev. Fr. Simeon Okezuo Nwobi, CMF, as Titular Bishop of Rusguniae (Rusguniensis) and Auxiliary to the Apostolic Administrator of the Sede Vacante of Ahiara (Dioecesis Ahiarana) in Nigeria.
Fr. Simeon Okezuo Nwobi, CMF, is a native of Ekwereazu, Imo State (Nigeria) in the Diocese of Ahiara, born on March 25, 1960. He made his First Profession in the Congregation of Missionaries Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretian Missionaries) on March 25, 1983, and pronounced his Final Vows on September 11, 1988. He was then ordained a priest on July 21, 1990, in Owerri by Bishop Plácido Rodriguez, CMF.
Fr. Simeon pursued a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Administration from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Nigeria, during 1995-1997. He also obtained a Licentiate in Missiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy, during 1997-1999. Subsequently, he worked as a Lecturer at the Claretian Institute of Philosophy, Maryland Nekede Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria, during 1999-2000, where he taught courses on Mission Theology and Philosophy. From 2000-2009, he served as a Lecturer at the Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria, where he taught courses on Missiology and Ecumenism. Later, during 2012-2014, he pursued a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the National Open University of Nigeria.
Father Simeon served as the Assistant Pastor at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Igbora, Ibadan, Nigeria from 1990 to 1992. After that, he was assigned to the Claretian Theology House of Studies in Attakwu, Enugu, Nigeria, where he served as the Local Community Econome and the Chaplain of the military personnel. From 2003 to 2008, he was the Associate Pastor at St. Peter’s Catholic Parish, Garriki, Enugu, Nigeria. Later, he became the Parish Priest of St. Paul’s Catholic Church Nekede, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria from 2006 to 2010. During the same period, he also served as the Provincial Vicar and Prefect of Apostolate of the Claretian Missionaries of East Nigeria Province (2006-2009). Finally, he was appointed as the Provincial Superior of the same province from 2010 until 2022.
During his tenure as Provincial Superior of the Claretian Province of East Nigeria, he held several leadership positions including Chairman of the Governing Board of the Claretian Institute of Philosophy in Nekede Owerri Imo State (2010-2022), President of the Association of African Claretians (ACLA) (2019-2022), President of Major Superiors of Nigeria (2019-2022), Proprietor of the Claretian University of Nigeria in Nekede, Imo State (2021-2022), and Chairman of the Governing Council of the Institute of Consecrated Life in Africa in Abuja (2020-2022).
The Titular Episcopal See of Rusguniæ was established in 1933, comprising Lapérouse, Matifou, pr. Mauritania Cesariense, Algeria. Its last Titular bishop was Monsignor Anthony Ireri Mukobo, I.M.C., who served from December 22, 1999, to February 15, 2023, is now the Bishop of Isiolo, Kenya.
The Diocese of Ahiara (Dioecesis Ahiarana) is currently vacant and administered by the Apostolic Administrator, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji of Owerri, Nigeria. The Diocese was erected on 18 November 1987 from the Diocese of Owerri (Mbaise). On March 26, 1994, the Diocese of Owerri was elevated to a Metropolitan See, and Ahiara became one of its suffragan dioceses.