By Candia Stephen
Arua. The conflicts that has rocked the Catholic Church in Arua diocese is not about to end.
On Tuesday, the members of Ediofe Parish Pastoral Council locked out one of the senior Priests, Fr Lazarus Ejoyi. They want him evicted from the residence in Ediofe Parish.
Fr. Lazarus Ejoyi secured a room at the Priest’s residence in Ediofe more than a year ago after he was removed from Kijomoro Parish by Bishop Rt Rev Sabino Ocan Odoki and left un–assigned to any Parish. Fr Lazarus is viewed as one of the Priests opposed to the Bishop’s administration.
In the Catholic Church, it is the prime responsibility of the Bishop to promote or deploy a Priest to any Parish within the diocese.
The notice pinned on Fr Ejoyi’s door. Photos by Candia Stephen.
Fr. Ejoyi on two occasions this year, received eviction letters signed by the Parish Priest Ediofe Parish Monsignor Casto Adeti and members of the Parish Pastoral Council. Ejoyi then refused to leave the Parish arguing that he had nowhere to go until assigned anew Parish by the Bishop.
Fr. Ejoyi, who part times at Nile University as Lecturer on return found a second pad lock on his door.
“When I arrived at the Priests Quarters in Ediofe, I saw another pad lock on my door and it became difficult for me to access the room,” Fr. Ejoyi said.
Taking care of a Priest solely lies in the hands of the Parish and the diocese in which he is working.
During ordinations into deaconate, the parents, guardians or foster parents, officially hands over the Priest to the pastoral care of the church and he only assists his family members when there is need.
In a coordinated move by the Parish Council and police, a notice of criminal trespass was pinned on the door. “Do not touch. Police notice,” the message reads in part.
The scene of crime officer Arua who declined to be named said it was a violation of the Priest’s right to accommodation and described the action of the perpetrators as barbaric and unchristian.
Fr. Ejoyi was requested to seek accommodation elsewhere until the police and the church authorities resolve the matter.
By today, the Parish Priest had not responded to police summons to record a statement at Arua CPS, but in a telephone interview, Fr. Casto denied any wrong doing and knowledge of the incident.
Last year, the Bishop was forced to flee from the diocese after angry youths working on the grave of late Bishop Emeritus, Frederick Drandua, were provoked by police during an arrest. But the scene turned chaotic as they responded by destroying part of the Bishop’s residence and the Parish office.