“Be messengers of hope, animators of faith”: Nigerian Archbishop to Newly Ordained Priests

Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese with the three Priests he ordained on 13 July 2023. Credit: Abuja Archdiocese

The newly ordained Priests of the Society of African Missions (SMA) in Nigeria have been urged to foster hope and contribute to the growth of Christian faith in their Priestly ministry.

In his Thursday, July 13 homily during the ordination of three SMA Deacons to Priesthood, Archbishop  Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese said, “Be messengers of hope, animators of faith communities and spiritual guides, being a voice of truth, justice, and peace.”

Archbishop Kaigama made reference to St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, saying, “Do nothing that people might object to, so as not to bring discredit on our functions as God’s servants.”

The Nigerian Archbishop went on to caution the Deacons he was about to ordain Priests against individualism and attachment to “personal” things. 

“Jesus is sending you not in search of personal purses, haversacks, sandals, the very things He forbade His disciples from looking for while on the mission,” he said during the event held at the Holy Family, Life Camp, in his Metropolitan See.


He added, “Do not be distracted by the very things you are renouncing by your three-fold vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, for the sake of the kingdom of God.”

“The life of a Priest is a life of giving more than receiving,” Archbishop Kaigama emphasized during the July 13 ordination Mass in which some Priests were celebrating Silver Jubilee of their Priestly ordination.

He encouraged the Deacons he was about to ordain Priests “to be selfless, zealous, and dedicated Priests for Jesus; your lives poured out like a libation, in humble service to God, rooted in the Eucharist and prayer.”

“Jesus wants you, the new Priests and all of us under or above 25 years ordained, to preserve the dignity of the office of the Priesthood and live it according to His will,” the Catholic Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 1995 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese added. 

He went on to caution against the “gospel of prosperity”, saying, “Unfortunately, today we have among us wolves clothed in religious garbs, ready to commercialize the Gospel and spiritual values. Their message is not about peace, or repentance, or the kingdom of God, but about prosperity.”

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“Let us pray for good Priests who are after the heart of Christ and to have more Christians who are truly the salt and the light of our society fast becoming too secular,” he said during the Priestly ordination of Deacons Alexander Abah, Robert Diemkwap, and Zachariah Yohann.

Archbishop Kaigama also acknowledged with appreciation the contribution of the SMA members to Christian faith formation in West African nation for 160 years, saying, “They planted the mustard seed which has grown to full maturity.”

“We are products of their labor of love. We thank those courageous missionaries. Their life was characterized by selflessness, accountability, humility, generosity of heart, and unquestioning obedience. They gave without counting the cost,” he said. 

The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop implored, “Mary, Mother of Priests, pray for our new Priests and for those celebrating their Silver Jubilee of the Priesthood, and indeed for all Priests.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.