“Blessed are the dead who die in the lord”, from now on, “yes” say the Spirit, let them find rest from their labours, for their good works accompany them”. Rev. 14:13.

This revelation from John the great apostle, we can aptly apply to our Beloved Father in faith, the Late Most Rev. Emmanuel N. Otteh, the former Auxiliary Bishop of Onitsha and former Bishop Emeritus of Isele-Uku.

Bishop Otteh was in many ways a model priest. He was greatly talented and those talents manifested in different aspects of his pastoral work. Hence he will be remembered as a skilled teacher, a diligent formator, a master builder, an astute administrator, a zealous pastor and if you may permit me to add a very prayerful priest in fact a disciplined servant of God. To many who are close to him they simply see him as a holy man.

The late Bishop has impacted positively on the Church in this part of the country since his good qualities influenced many of his students which include some bishops, archbishops, thousands of priests and Christ’s lay faithful. For example his students include: the late Archbishop A.K. Obiefuna, Bishop G. Ochiagha, Bishop S.A. Okafor, Bishop S.A. Amatu, Bishop Hilary Okeke and many others not excluding myself and of course Archbishop A.O. Akubeze who were his mass serves. For the many priests and Christ’s lay faithful who were positively influenced by his teaching, we thank God for the gift and pastoral work of the late Bishop Emmanuel Otteh.

In a funeral of this nature there is a strong urge to give a eulogy of the deceased, or a litany of his achievements. However, Christian funeral is neither a canonization nor a historical summary of one’s achievements.

Christian funeral is rather an expression of our faith in the redemptive work of Christ and our hope in the resurrection of the faithful in Christ.

Therefore, though Bishop Otteh made significant contributions in his privileged vocation and exulted office as priest and Bishop, we are here to pray for him. The Holy Bible tells us that “the souls of the virtuous are in the hand of God” (Wis 3:1). Therefore, what matters in our lives as children of God is right relationship with God. As St. Paul assures us “If we live we live for the lord and if we die we die for the Lord” (Rom. 14:7-9). Right relationship with God is what will lead us to eternal life which Christ has won for us.

We recall that death came into the world as the ultimate expression of humanity’s separation from God. Consequently, we are in need of redemption and this is what God has offered us in Christ. Christ is our hope. We believe in the mercy of God and the promise of our Lord and saviour who assures us that “In my Father’s house there are many mansions” moreover he tells us that where “I am my servant will also be”.

We pray him to receive his servant Bishop Emmanuel Otteh and give him a befitting place in his Fathers Kingdom.

May Bishop Otteh hear the voice of the Good Shepherd calling him “come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world” (Matt. 25:34).

+ Most REV. valerian m. okeke

          Archbishop of Onitsha