Biography of BISHOP CHIKPA WILFRED ANAGBE, CMF.
Msgr. Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe CMF was born in the humble family of Mr. Thaddeus Tsetim Anagbe and Mrs. Veronica Anasue Anagbe of blessed memory on April 2, 1965. He hails from Aondona, Raav Udam of Gwer-West local government area of Benue State. He is the second child out of the ten children of his parents.
He began his formal education at St. Peter's primary school Aondona 1974-1979. It was his father Mr. Thaddeus Anagbe who insisted that he went to the seminary for decent education. He studied at St. James Junior Seminary, Makurdi, from 1980 to 1985, and completed on the 4th June, 1985
He was invited by the Claretian Missionaries to begin his Postulancy at Claretian Institute of Philosophy, Maryland, Nekede-Owerri. This stage was combined with studies in philosophy from 1985 to 1986. The program was punctuated with the Novitiate which saw him at the Heart of Mary Novitiate in Utonkon, Benue State, from 1986 to 1987. After his first religious profession in 1987 he went to the Claretian Institute of Philosophy Maryland, Nekede-Owerri to continue his studies in philosophy which he completed in 1990. At the end of this program he graduated with B.Phil certificate from the Pontifical Urban University Rome. The young seminarian was sent to the Spiritan International School of Theology, Attakwu, Enugu State, for his studies in theology for four years, from 1990 to 1994. At the end of his Graduate studies he bagged a Master's Degree in Theology from Duquesne University Pittsburg, USA.
Final Profession and Ordination
After his final profession in 1992 he had his diaconate ordination on July 3, 1993 at Assumpta Cathedral Owerri, by Most Rev. Dr. Mark Unegbu. He was ordained a Catholic priest on August 6, 1994 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral Makurdi by Archbishop Vigano Maria, the then Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria.
Msgr. Chikpa Wilfred Anagbe appropriated to himself the will of God through obedience to the leadership of his religious congregation under his superiors. He is a man of obedience and has never rejected assignments given to him by his legitimate superiors. He can be described as a formator, a pastor, a farmer, an administrator, a retreat preacher, a consultor and a chaplain to the military.
Pastoral and Administrative Experiences
Immediately after his ordination he was appointed the Vocations Director of the Claretian Missionaries in Nigeria from 1994 to 1998. He became the pioneer manager of Claret Nursery/Primary School Nekede and the Director of Claretian School Board from 1996 to 1998. He was the first Claretian priest to work as pastor at St. Peter's parish Gariki, entrusted to the pastoral care of the Claretian Missionaries in Enugu Diocese from 1998 to 2000. From 2000 to 2004 the then Provincial superior appointed him the manager of the Claretian Farm Project in Utonkon, Benue State. While at the farm Monsignor Anagbe was also involved in the pastoral work entrusted to the Claretian Missionaries at St. Paul's Parish Utonkon Otukpo diocese as a collaborator. Because he was a tireless apostle like his father founder St. Anthony Mary Claret, the then Provincial Superior appointed him the pioneer pastor of St. Fidelis Catholic parish Allan from 2003 to 2004, a parish created from St. Paul's parish Utonkon. This assignment he combined with the administration of the farm project at the same time. It was during this time that the Bishop of Otukpo diocese appointed him the dean of Utonkon Deanery. His assignment at the farm and in the parish came to an end when his superior sent him to Spain to study Church history at the Pontifical University of Salamanca.
Like Fulton Sheen, Msgr. Anagbe believes that "if man is not saved nothing is saved." Perhaps that is why he has chosen as his Episcopal motto: 'to serve Jesus and the Brethren.' Service is the watchword for Msgr. Anagbe. Service to his Lord and to his brothers overrides his personal interest. Between 2004 and 2005 no sooner had Msgr. Anagbe settled down in Spain for his doctorate in Church history than he was elected in the Provincial Chapter of the Claretian Missionaries of Nigeria of 2005 as the Provincial Economo (financial administrator). In obedience to the will of his brothers and in service to them he accepted this offer and came back to Nigeria. He was re-elected into the same office during their Provincial Chapter of 2010, a function he performed to the best of his knowledge until he was appointed bishop by the Holy Father on July 8, 2014. During this period of his service as the provincial bursar the Superior General of the Claretian Missionaries Father Josep Maria Abella cmf, appointed him as a member of the general economic council of the Congregation in Rome from 2008 to 2013. It was the duty of the council to study and approve the budget of the entire Congregation.
While serving his brothers as the provincial bursar in Owerri, Imo State, he did not confine himself to only administrative work; rather he had time to be involved in pastoral work. At different times he acted as the military chaplain of 34 Artillery Brigade Obinze, Owerri and military chaplain of 3 Battalion Effurun Barracks Warri between 2009 and 2013 respectively. He also preached retreat to both priests and seminarians of some dioceses and religious orders. With his involvement in the different apostolate of his Congregation Msgr. Anagbe CMF, can only be described as an all round Missionary.
Monsignor Anagbe is so energetic that he can combine different assignments at the same time. Msgr. Anagbe knows how to domesticate his environment. He has a very satisfactory knowledge of poultry farming, fishery and gardening. He is also a very good cook. During some major Claretian events Msgr. Wilfred is seen roasting both fish and chicken just to make sure that his brothers and guests are well fed.
C.P. Varkey, S.J., wrote a book entitled Be Human Be Holy. Msgr. Anagbe knows how to be human and holy. In the midst of his spiritual and pastoral activities that are usually tight he will find time to relax with his brothers and friends. Don't be surprised if you see him moving round the garden looking at his crops especially in the morning or evening hours sipping his cup of coffee. His hobbies include: reading, listening to music and farming. Msgr. Wilfred has a great sense of humour. You will hardly get bored listening to him especially during his homilies. He speaks four languages fluently: Tiv, English, Igbo and Spanish.
Before he was appointed the co-adjutor bishop of Makurdi on July 8, 2014 by His Holiness, Pope Francis, Msgr. Anagbe had experienced every aspect of the Claretian apostolate.
With the Episcopal ordination of Msgr. Chikpa Wilfred Anagbe CMF as the co-adjutor bishop of Makurdi he occupies the twenty-first position among the living Claretian bishops in the Catholic Church worldwide, the second Claretian to be appointed bishop during the Pontificate of Pope Francis and the first Claretian bishop in the Nigerian Church. See how providence works. Msgr. Wilfred Anagbe was appointed bishop by Pope Francis, and his Episcopal ordination is on the 4th Oct, 2014 on the Feast day of St Francis of Assisi, a town where he made a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Francis on the 14th Sept, 2014 while in Rome for a course for the newly appointed bishops.
We pray that he will bring all his missionary experiences to bear in his new call to serve Jesus and his brethren as a bishop in the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi in particular and in the Nigerian Church in general. We commend our brother, father and friend to the protective and maternal care of the Blessed Virgin Mary and to the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi and Saint Anthony Mary Claret, the founder of the Claretian Missionaries who was also a Missionary Archbishop of Cuba, and that Msgr. Anagbe may become a bishop after the heart and mind of Jesus who came not to be served but to serve!
Monsignor Anagbe believes that God does not call the qualified but God qualifies the called. He sees his call AD IESU ET FRATRES SERVIENDUM, "to serve Jesus and the brethren" as his Episcopal motto suggests, as pure divine providence because in the human calculation he is neither the most intelligent, most handsome, most holy nor most loved.
ORDINATION AND INSTALLATION
Bishop ANAGBE's episcopal ordination took place at IBB Square in Makurdi on October 4, 2014 and following the resignation of Bishop Usuh on March 28, 2015 Bishop Anagbe was installed as the Bishop of Makurdi Diocese at a public ceremony on July 25, 2015 at IBB Square, Makurdi.
A man of great humour
Sometime ago during an annual retreat organized for the Claretian Missionaries in Nekede-Owerri, Imo State, he joined the cooks in serving dinner and I called him to my side and asked him if they would serve fruit as part of the menu. And in his usual humour, he replied by asking if I have ever planted any tree since I became a Claretian. It was a joke but laden with meaning. Monsignor Anagbe is not a lazy person and does not cherish any person who is lazy. Even as he tells you 'to be patient with him because God has not finished with him yet,' he knows very well that success is achieved through hard work. Monsignor Anagbe will find it very difficult to give you fish, rather he will give you a hook to do the fishing yourself. Those who understand this will enjoy him!