Profile of His Lordship, Most Rev Moses Chikwe Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri Archdiocese.
Born on April 3, 1967. Most Rev Moses Chikwe is the last of the ten children of late Mr. Moses Nwamadi Chikwe and Mrs. Anthonia Nwaobiara Chikwe of Umuehihie, Uzoagba in Ikeduru L.G.A Imo state. As a prewar child, bishop Moses had a fair share of the hard times that characterized the time just like the biblical Moses who came into life during the most painful and difficult time of his people. However, coming from a large family, he picked up the virtue of sharing. His parents were very devout Catholics. His mum had special devotions to sacred heart, legion of Mary, ST. Jude and mother of Perpetual Succour. Bishop Moses from his childhood went for these devotions. This obviously nurtured the spirit of vocation to the catholic priesthood. Very early in life Most Rev Moses Chikwe said he “enjoyed reciting the rosary and singing the Marian songs in between”.
His parents who had no opportunity to go to school valued education so much that they had all of their ten children attend school at least to secondary level. His parents instilled in him a great sense of industry and independence. As the last child of the family he had to work even harder to meet the great targets set by his brothers and sisters. Bishop Moses had his first impression for the catholic priesthood when his mother took him to church. This was before he was ten. He said “as I watched the priest at the alter celebrate mass, I figured that the man must be in heaven, whatever heaven was for me at the time. Therefore, I desired to be like that man at the alter”.
In 1981 he passed the entrance examination to the seminary. Although he equally passed the entrance examination to the secondary school at the time, he chose the seminary. So, at the age of fourteen, he began his journey to the priesthood. He remembers “simmering with tears as my brother and the taxi driver dropped me off at the seminary compound, ST. Mary ’s seminary, Umuowa, helped me to pack my belongings to my dormitory and left”. Although he felt lonely at the initial stage, he had to turn to the new community where he had eventually come to live.
After class one at ST. Mary ’s, he went on to ST. Peter Claver Seminary, Okpala, for the rest of the junior seminary formation. Due to his good behavior and academic performance, he was made the academic prefect of his class. After his West African School Certificate Examination, he was retained for apostolic work in the seminary where he taught for one year.
In 1988, he was sent to ST. Joseph’s major seminary for his philosophical studies. He graduated with magna cum laude (second class upper). In 1992, he joined Bigard Memorial Seminary for his theological studies and again graduated with magna cum laude (second class upper).
On July 6, 1996, he was Ordained a catholic priest along with eight others at the maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri, by Anthony J.V Obinna. For him, it was like a dream fulfilled; a dream he nurtured with passion for fifteen years. His father ‘s death in 1994, two years before his ordination, though a big test of his faith, did not truncate his passion for the priesthood.
After his ordination in 1996, his first posting was at holy cross parish, Emii, as the associate of Fr. John Ibe. The next pastoral assignment was to be an associate at ST. Columba’s parish, Amaimo from February 1997- January 1998. He worked under Fr. Bartholomew Okere. Thereafter, he was posted to Assumpta press and The Leader newspaper, as the assistant director under Fr. Raphael Madu, from February 1998- August 2002. At the Assumpta press he was the longest serving assistant director and was given a distinguished service Award. The same August 2002, Msgr Moses Chikwe was sent to Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California to do a Master’s in Educational Administration. While doing the Programme, he was assigned to visitation Church in Westchester, where he ministered to the catholic faithful in the parish, helping the pastor as a priest in residence (Aug. 2002- 2005). He completed his Master’s programme in 2005 and was given the outstanding Graduate Administration Student, Award. In the same year he enrolled to do clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at the UCLA Medical Center, and got his certification. He then started working at the medical center as a chaplain after the program (2005-2007).
With a scholarship packaged from the University of California Los Angeles, he began his doctoral programme which lasted from 2006 to 2013. He successfully earned the PhD in Educational Administration in December 2013. At the beginning of his doctoral programme, he moved to ST. Mark’s church in Venice, where he lived in residence, helping the pastors to minister to the spiritual needs of Catholics in the parish (2007-2010). He also worked as a chaplain at the Veterans hospital, where he provided spiritual and emotional care to the sick Veterans (2008-2010).
Throughout his pastoral care of the sick, the statement of Jesus in Mathew 25:36 “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me…, when I was sick you visited me”, held great moral and theological import for him. It was and still is the fulcrum on which his pastoral care revolves.
From 2011-2016 he moved further south of California and lived in residence at ST. Joseph’s Cathedral in San Diego. As he was completing his doctoral dissertation, he was also helping with ministering to the needs of the Catholic faithful and working as a chaplain at VA San Diego Medical Center. He was a member of the Hospital Ethics Advisory Team (HEAT), He was a member of the VA Institutional Review Board (IRB), and a member of Shared Governance Coordination Council. He had a lot of hands on training in leadership and was placed in some leadership positions. He was trained on staff collaboration and later became a facilitator for that. He was also trained as a hospital ethicist. He was trained and certified to facilitating training for married couples on emotional intelligence and skills in their marital relationship.
He returned to Nigeria in December of 2016 and was assigned to work with ICT department at the Owerri Archdiocesan Catholic Secretariat.
In 2017, he was made the associate Director of Education. From February of 2019 till date he served as the Director of Education Owerri Archdiocese. This responsibility has challenged him to bring in all kinds of skills, education and experience he has acquired in order to continue the progress made in the Education Commission.
On the 17th October 2019, his Holiness Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Moses Chikwe the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri Archdiocese, assigning him the Titular see of Flumenzer. He will be ordained a Bishop on Thursday 12th December 2019 at the Maria Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri.Bishop Moses Chikwe.