“That he may be released unharmed”: Prayer Appeal for Priest Abducted in Owerri, Nigeria

Fr. Matthias Opara abducted on Friday, May 26 while returning from a Funeral Mass in Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri. Credit: Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri

Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri is appealing for prayers for the release of Fr. Matthias Opara, who was abducted on Friday, May 26 while returning from a Funeral Mass.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa hours following the abduction, the Chancellor of the Nigerian Archdiocese provides details about the abduction of Fr. Opara who he says serves as Parish Priest of Holy Ghost Obosima Catholic Parish of Owerri Archdiocese.

“He was kidnapped along Ejemekwuru-Izombe road while returning from a funeral,” Fr. Patrick Mbarah says in the statement based, he adds, on the directive of the Local Ordinary of Owerri, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji.

The Nigerian Archdiocese solicits for prayers that Fr. Opara, ordained a Priest on 14 July 1990, “may be released unharmed”.

The May 26 kidnapping of the Father-in-charge of the Catholic Parish in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area (LGA) of Nigeria’s Imo State is the latest in a series of abductions that have targeted members of the Clergy in Africa’s most populous nation.  


On May 19, Fr. Jude Kingsley Maduka, a Nigerian Catholic Priest serving in Okigwe Diocese was kidnapped and freed after three days of captivity.

Fr. Chochos Kunav and Fr. Raphael Ogigba, who had been abducted on April 29 from Nigeria’s Catholic Diocese of Warri were released on May 4.

Earlier, on April 15,  Fr. Michael Ifeanyi Asomugha, the Curate of St Paul’s Parish Osu of Okigwe Diocese, was kidnapped and later released.

The West African nation has been battling a surge of violence orchestrated by gangs, whose members carry out indiscriminate attacks, kidnapping for ransom, and in some cases, kill.

The country has been experiencing the Boko Haram insurgency since 2009, a group that allegedly aims at turning it into an Islamic nation.

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.