“Avoid every form of immorality”: Catholic Bishop in Nigeria to Newly Ordained Deacons

Bishop Anselm Umoren, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja wit the 14 Deacons he ordained on 14 January 2024. Credit: Archdiocese of Abuja

Bishop Anselm Umoren, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja in Nigeria, has urged the new Deacons he ordained on January 14 to shun immorality in all its forms.

In his homily on the occasion of the Diaconate Ordination of 14 Seminarians for the Archdiocese of Abuja, Bishop Umoren urged them to be “open to  the transforming effect of the education that Jesus gives through prayer, spiritual reading and frequent recourse to the Sacrament.”

“Avoid every form of immorality. You are entering a vocation that belongs to God. One who belongs to God must be like God; you must strive to live a blameless  life,” the Nigerian Catholic Bishop said during the Eucharistic celebration at St. Kizito Kuje Parish of Abuja Archdiocese.

He added, “We hear much today about the immoral lifestyle of men who have consecrated themselves to the service of God. You must not be involved in that way of life.”

“Avoid immorality; your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit; do not grieve the Holy Spirit,” the 62-year-old Nigerian member of the Missionary Society of St. Paul of Nigeria (MSPN) who started his Episcopal Ministry in February 2012 said. 


He went on to caution the Seminarians to be ordained Deacons against impurities, saying, “Bodily and spiritual purity should be the watchword of all of you today.”

“After ten years of training and waiting on the Lord to confirm your vocation, the whole Church and in particular the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja join you in thanking God not only because the Lord has called you to serve in His temple like Samuel, but also for granting you the gift of patience and perseverance to wait for Him until this holy day,” he said.

Bishop Umoren continued, “There is no other occupation or profession where applicants spend ten years or more before they begin to practice their trade; only the Catholic Church has this enviable distinction of devoting most of this time to the training of Clergy.”

“You are to model your lives according to the mystery of Jesus Christ the protodeacon and the supreme servant of all,” he said, adding, “The example of your life must conform with the evangelical rule of the son of man who did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Referring to the call of Samuel and the support he received from Eli, the Nigerian Catholic Bishop emphasized the importance of gratitude.

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He said, “Be grateful to the Eli’s in your life. The boy Samuel was called by God to be his prophet. At the time of his call, Samuel was not yet familiar with the call of the Lord but it  took the experience of Eli for Samuel to realize that it was God calling him and Eli guided Samuel to receive God’s Call.”

The 14 Deacons ordained during the January 14 event include Victor Chimobi Anyanwu, Valentine Chukwuemeka Alalanma, Francis Ifenna Nwagwu, Emmanuel Longjop Bitnam, Emmanuel Emeka Okoli, Aiden Batmol Zunyil, and Maximilian Ubong Peter.

Others are Donacian Uche Linus, James Ocheme Ejeh, Joshua Sunday Aese, Dennis Dekende Aiye, Jonah-Mary Ubah Agida, Julius Gadachian Yashib, and Oscar Thadeus Ibekwe.

Abah Anthony John is a Nigerian Journalist with great enthusiasm and interest for Catholic Church Communication and Media Apostolate. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from Benue State University, Makurdi, Benue State Nigeria. He has vast experience in Print,  Electronic and Multi-Media Production.