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Church in Nigeria “thrown into mourning following death” of 62-year-old Bishop

The late Bishop Peter Iorzuul Adoboh of Nigeria's Kastina-Ala diocese who died on February 14, 2020

The people of God in Africa’s most populous country are mourning the death of a nearly 62-year-old Catholic Bishop who, having been in the episcopacy for just about seven years, has been described as a gentle “and a holy man through and through.”

“We are very sad to announce the death of Bishop Peter Iorzuul Adoboh, Catholic Bishop of Kastina-Ala who died on 14th February, 2020 after (a brief) illness at Daughter of Charity Hospital, Abuja,” reads part of the statement announcing the passing on of the Nigerian Prelate who was born in April 1958.

Appointed Bishop by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in December 2012, Bishop Adoboh has died nine days before celebrating his seventh anniversary of his Episcopacy, having been ordained Bishop of Kastina-Ala on February 23, 2013.

He had, as his Episcopal motto, Misericordia Dei Me Circumdat (The Grace of God surrounds me). “Indeed, this grace was a sustaining factor in his brief episcopacy,” the February 14 statement from the diocese of Kastina-Ala shared with ACI Africa reads.

“The bishop had a long struggle with ill-health and was at various times given medical treatment in the US, Canada and Italy,” the statement further read, adding that the late Prelate passed on “in the early hours of February 14.”

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“His remains have been since brought back home,” the statement from Kastina-Ala also revealed, referencing the 6,465 km² diocese within the Ecclesiastical Province of Abuja split from the Diocese of Makurdi in December 2012.

“I am just returning to Abuja in the same ambulance that we used to take the late Bishop Adoboh to his home diocese. He was my Vice Rector when I was Rector of St. James' Junior Seminary, Aliade,” the Director of Communications of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese, Fr. Patrick Alumuku said in a statement shared with ACI Africa Saturday, February 15.

In the statement, Fr. Alumuku described the late Bishop as “a holy man through and through.”

“He lived an examplary life of piety, humility and peace with all. In the end, he died a happy death. He created a spiritually emotional departure,” Fr. Alumuku said in reference to the late Bishop, recalling him as “former Spiritual Director of St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, Makurdi.”

“On that fateful day after a long struggle with cancer, having received Holy Communion and the anointing of the sick, he then blessed the priest,” Fr. Alumuku revealed.

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Bishop Adoboh also “called the Blessed Sisters of Charity who had been taking care of him at the hospital and he blessed them and then breathed his last,” Fr. Alumuku further said and concluded, “May God grant him eternal rest in heaven.”

In his 2016 Easter message addressed to priests, religious men and women and the laity, Bishop Adoboh described solidarity with those undergoing suffering “as the hallmark of good Christian life,” which he likened with “the supreme sacrifice paid by Christ for the redemption of humanity by his death on the cross.”

“Christ embraced and elevated human culture and traditional value systems. Ultimately, he expressed unreserved love for humanity through the redeeming act of his suffering, death and resurrection,” the late Bishop was quoted as saying in his Easter 2016 message titled “Easter: A Sing of Solidarity, Respect and Love.”

He had added in his message, “We are invited through this Easter season to live lives worthy of our redemption. Lives worthy of our redemption must be inimical to acts of violence, hatred, bitterness, corruption, falsehood etc.”

In remembering the late Bishop, the February 14 statement from Kastina-Ala diocese recalled the late Bishop Adoboh as “one of two young men whose spiritual life was nurtured under the tutelage of the legendary Principal, Father Angus Fraser at Mount Saint Gabriel’s Makurdi, the other being the Bishop of Gboko, Most Revd William Amove Avenya.”

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Born to the family of Abraham and Sarah Adoboh of Mbayion in Gboko local government area of Benue State in Nigeria, the late Bishop had been ordained a priest of Makurdi diocese in June 1984.

“May God whom Bishop Peter Iorzuul Adaboh has serviced all through His life time raise him up at the last day and may He give him kind admittance into his Glorious Kingdom. May his soul rest in peace. Amen,” reads the statement from Kastina-Ala diocese.

Details about the burial of the late Bishop will be announced at a later date by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), ACI Africa has been told.