3 PRIESTS ORDAINED AT ST. JOSEPH’S VOM
Two deacons of the Society of African Mission, SMA, and one Servant of Charity SC, were raised to the Order of Priesthood on Saturday June 18, 2016 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, K/Vom by the Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama. The three deacons were Rev. Afala Amgbwea SMA, Rev. Samson Ebuta SMA, and Rev. Paul Ibrahim SC.
In his heart piecing sermon, Archbishop Kaigama admonished the priests to ensure that they pass the message of God to the faithful undiluted, saying freely they received, hence they should give it out freely to those under their care. He said that Sacrament of the Holy Priesthood is an honour conferred on selected individuals among the people of God not because of any super human qualities or ability to perform extraordinary miracles.
He maintained that any time a priest celebrates the Eucharist, he represents Christ, saying at ordination, the priest is given the special power to transform ordinary bread into the body of Christ and ordinary wine into the blood of Christ and he must ceaselessly pray and bless the people so that God can pour his grace upon them.
Archbishop Kaigama stated that the life of a priest should be one of constant praise of God. “The priest who always complains or is after material wealth cannot be said to be a priest like Malchizadek.”
“God chooses anyone to give the awesome gift of the priesthood. Nobody deserves such an honour unless God decrees it. Nobody has the qualification no matter how many years one spends in Postulancy, Novitiate or Philosophical or Theological studies,” he pointed out.
He called on the priests to note that the disastrous spiritual condition of Judah at that time demanded a radical spiritual “surgery and therapy”, to cleanse, purify and purge people of evil and then to start building them up. He stressed that today in Nigeria every child knows the pervasive degree of both spiritual and material corruption, saying the citizens do not need anyone to remind them of being corrupt.
The Prelate said the priests have a lot of work to do to minimize the culture of corruption which he said must begin with them.
“Dear fellow priests, you are called to preach the good news and not to be careers of worldly message. You are to denounce evil and encourage righteousness. Your job will be a difficult one because many people of whatever religious affiliation parade external piety but have dead consciences when it comes to using the resources meant for the common good. It is sad to resort to tricks in the name of God. It is as bad as those who kill in the name of God,” he stressed.
He thanked the Superiors of the SMA and SC for accepting to have a joint ordination for their priests, saying it was a clear indication of the family nature of the Church endowed with a variety of gifts to be used to build a kingdom of love, peace and justice. “We need to clarify that no religious congregation is superior to the other. They have the gift of complementarity. Also, it should be noted that a religious priest does not have more spiritual power than a diocesan priest or vice versa. They are all conduit pipes of God’s grace,” Archbishop Kaigama. He noted that since oil pipes and installations were today vandalized by disgruntled youth causing terrible economic hardships, the priests must be careful not to allow their conduit pipes of grace suffer similar fate. He pleaded with the laity to encourage and support priests to consider as a priority their spiritual and pastoral obligations rather than pushing them to become the bread winners of their families, saying families can easily destroy the missionary spirit of self-giving when they mount unnecessary material pressure on their sons.
The Archbishop said the Archdiocese owed so much gratitude to the SMA missionaries who, since 1907, had been made labour of love to date, to help the Archdiocese become a truly local Church. He particularly thanked and congratulated Very Rev. Fr. Jeremiah O’Connell SMA for celebrating 60 years as a priest and prayed God to reward him abundantly.
Earlier in his remarks shortly before the Mass, Parish Priest of St. Josephs’ Catholic Church Vom, Rev. Fr. Joseph Chege SMA, appreciated God for the gift of the three deacons to be ordained priests. He noted that the gift of the priesthood in the Catholic Church is one of greatest gifts that must be cherished and respected. He thanked all who came to celebrate with them and solicited for prayer for all missionaries.
In their separate remarks, the Superiors of the SMA and Servant of Charity, SC, expressed joy for the gift of the new priests to the Church and their different congregations. They appreciated the congregation for celebrating with them and announced the posting of the new priests as follows: Rev. Fr. Paul Ibrahim SC to work as Bursar in one of their communities in Kumasi, Ghana, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Afala SMA will work in a Parish in the Republic of Niger, while Rev. Fr. Samson Ebuta SMA will work in one of the formation houses in Nigeria.