By Richard Elesho
A Nigerian Catholic priest, apostolic nuncio and polyglot Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, has been given new responsibilities at the United Nations, the UN and the World Trade Organization, WTO, by the head of the Catholic Church, the Pope Francis.
Bro. Nwachukwu, who has his roots in the Catholic Diocese of Aba, in the State of Abia, will hold the post of permanent observer of the Holy See – the Vatican – to the United Nations Office and to the specialized institutions in Geneva.
The Pope has also appointed Bishop Nwachukwu permanent observer to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Vatican representative to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The appointment is contained in a press release from the Office of the Secretariat of the Episcopal Conference of the Antilles, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on Friday, December 17, 2021, where Bishop Nwachukwu is currently serving as apostolic nuncio.
The Nigeria Tribune reports that until his appointment, Archbishop Nwachukwu was transferred from Nicaragua to the current mission in Trinidad and Tobago on November 4, 2017 and took office on March 19, 2018.
According to the new appointment, Bishop Nwachukwu will remain in charge of the Mission in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and the West Indies, until his departure for the new mission at the United Nations in early March 2022.
The person appointed has been in the diplomatic service of the Holy See for almost three decades.
Education / Career
Nwachukwu was born on May 10, 1960 in Umuokoro, Eziama-Ntigha, in the local government area of Isia-Ala Ngwa North of Abia State. He was ordained a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Aba, in the state of Abia, on June 17, 1984. Ten years later, he joined the diplomatic service of the Vatican.
He began his studies in January 1972, at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Ahiaeke Umuahia, at the age of 11.
Three years later, in 1975, he and some of his classmates were allowed to take the last GCE in London, before the West African Examination Council (WAEC) took over the organization of the final exams. secondary studies. His result was excellent.
He then taught mathematics and Latin in the same seminary until 1977, when he was sent to continue his priestly training at the newly opened Philosophy Faculty of Bigard Memorial Seminary at Ikot Ekpene.
From 1980 to 1984, he completed his seminary training at the Faculty of Theology of the same Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu. He studied theology and canon law.
He passed his Bachelor of Theology exams with a summa cum laude and was honored to deliver the farewell speech at his class graduation. That same year 1984, on June 17, the late Bishop of Umuahia, Rt. Reverend Anthony Gogo Nwedo, CSSp., Ordained him a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Umuahia, at the Parish Church of St. Eugene of ‘Aba. It will then be transferred to the diocese of Aba when it was created in 1990.
After his priestly ordination, Fr. Fortunatus worked as a teacher and later as vice-rector of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Umuahia, as well as parish vicar and administrator of the parish of St. Anne, Ibeku (1984-1986).
At the same time, he was director of diocesan vocations, as well as chaplain of the Federal College of Agriculture and the Umuahia campus of the Alvan Ikoku College of Education, both in Umudike-Umuahia.
In 1986, he was sent to Rome for specialization studies. He studied the scriptures at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and the Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule, Sankt Georgen, in Frankfurt, Germany. He also studied diplomacy at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy before entering the diplomatic service of the Holy See. He also served in many African countries including Ghana and Algeria,
Not yet satisfied, Nwachukwu enrolled for a doctorate at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum. He specialized in Canon Law and completed the program in 1996, with a thesis entitled “Canons 364 and 365, the Holy See and the State of Israel: an example of the logic of papal diplomacy”.
Archbishop Nwachukwu speaks and understands several languages, beyond his native language, Igbo, including English, Italian, German, French, Spanish, modern Hebrew and some Arabic, as well as some ancient languages of biblical research namely, Latin, Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.
Without a doubt, Bishop Nwachukwu is on familiar ground.