Reverend Mr. John Chidiebube Okpara to be Ordained to the Priesthood by Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez

The Ordination Mass will be streamed live at , Facebook Live at and

The Reverend Mr. John Chidiebube Okpara, 31, son of Mr. Fidelis U. Okpara and the late Mrs. Francisca N. Okpara, will be ordained to the Priesthood by Archbishop Nelson Pérez.

Saturday, May 20, 2023
10:00 a.m.
Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103

A native of Amazụ Ịkpaọcha Arọndizuọgụ (Imo, Nigeria), Deacon Okpara has been serving as a transitional deacon at Saint Cyprian Parish in Philadelphia for the past year in final preparation for Ordination to the Priesthood.

He attended Angels International Nursery and Primary School (1997-2004), Providence International Secondary School (2004-2010) in Nigeria, and John Carroll University (2017), and Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology (2018) in the United States. 

He earned a Bachelor of Art in Philosophy from the Claretian Institute of Philosophy (2016) in Nigeria and a Pontifical Degree in Philosophy from its affiliate, Urban University (2016), Rome. He received a Master of Divinity (2022) and Master of Theology (2023) degrees from Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood.

Father Okpara will celebrate his First Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving on
Sunday, May 21, 2023
3:00 p.m.
Saint Luke the Evangelist Church
2316 Fairhill Avenue,
Glenside, PA 19038

The homilist will be Reverend Aloysius Ochasi. Concelebrants include Most Reverend Timothy Senior (Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia and Bishop-designate of the Diocese of Harrisburg); Reverend Joseph Brandt; Reverend Monsignor Federico Britto; Reverend Peter Chineke; Reverend Peter DiMaria; Reverend Joseph Bongard: Reverend  Anthony Rossi; Reverend John Wackerman: Reverend Christopher Redcay; Reverend Thomas Gardner; Reverend Emmanuel Ojeifo; Reverend Daniel Arechabala; Reverend William Chiriaco; Reverend Leandre Syrieix; Reverend Bruno Nwachukwu; Reverend Ezeiloaku; and Reverend Johnpromise Umeozuru.

Catholic Philly recently published a profile on Deacon Okpara’s journey to the priesthood. To read his profile, “Parents’ Marital Love and Personal Healing lead to the Priesthood,” please click here.

There are seven men from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in the Ordination Class of 2023. Following the conclusion of Mass with the Rite of Ordination, they will be assigned to an Archdiocesan parish where they will serve as parochial vicars. A parochial vicar is a priest appointed by the Archbishop to assist the pastor of a parish.

Thanks to the generous support of the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia, the Mass will be streamed live via the Archdiocesan Vimeo Channel (; Archbishop Pérez’s Facebook page (; Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary’s website (; and Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary’s Facebook page (; beginning at 10:00 a.m.


Editor’s Note: If you would like to receive a photograph of Father Okpara, please contact the Office for Communications at 215-587-3747 or email [email protected].

Background on Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary

Founded in 1832, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary has been forming men for priestly service in the Catholic Church for more than 190 years. Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary will be relocating to Lower Gwynedd Township. It includes the construction of a new chapel, and a student life center which will consist of a refectory, classrooms, library, administrative offices, fitness center and additional housing for seminarians and resident faculty. Its inauguration is scheduled for the 2024-2025 academic year. For more information on Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, please call 610-667-3394 or visit, FacebookTwitterLinked InInstagram or YouTube.

About the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia 

The Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia (CFGP) is an independent, nonprofit community foundation committed to growing philanthropy according to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Grounded in the principles of faith and service, CFGP meets the diverse needs of donors and Catholic institutions through charitable fund management and development consulting. Our services ensure an investment in the future of our faith. To learn more about CFGP, please visit




Jhoselyn Martinez
Communications Specialist
215-587-3747 (office)