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“Priesthood not a distinction, but a gift”: Cameroonian Prelate at Ordination of Priests

Priestly Ordination in the Catholic Diocese of Kumbo- Cameroon

During the ordination of nine Deacons to the Priesthood in Cameroon’s Catholic Diocese of Kumbo, the Bishop invited the candidates to be ordained to view their priestly ministry not as “a distinction” that sets them apart in isolation but as a gift that brings them closer to the people of God who will be under their care in service.

“My dear sons, the priesthood is not a distinction you are taking but a gift to be received,” Bishop George Nkuo told the nine Deacons he was about to ordain as Priests during his homily at the Friday, July 3 event that took place at St. Theresa’s Cathedral, Kumbo, in the north-western region of Cameroon.

He added referencing the nine Deacons, “Each day, you will have to remind yourself that the priesthood is about humble service rather than domination or control. It is about gentleness and compassion rather than arrogance. It is about being a proclaimer of the truth, but God’s truth not our own truth. It is about serving people by example, but it must be the Lord’s will not your own will.”

Bishop Nkuo went on to caution the candidates to the priesthood against selfishness in the course of their priestly ministry saying, “When we become self-centred or we use our ministry for our own self-aggrandizement, then we move away from our calling of selfless service to the people of God.”

 

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He emphasized the need to live by virtues that foster generous service among the people of God making reference to Pope Francis who “often reminds Bishops, priests and deacons of our church that we must cultivate in our hearts the virtues of simplicity, of courage, of humility and generosity and to surrender ourselves to Jesus Christ and to his body the Church.”

“As priests, we cannot ignore the warnings of the Bible about bad shepherds who have no love for the sheep,” the Local Ordinary of Kumbo Diocese cautioned and added, “We are not priests for what we can get but what we can give. And anyone who is in the priesthood for power, money, and authority is definitely in the wrong place.”

At the celebration witnessed by a limited congregation due to COVID-19 restrictions with each of the nine Deacons having been allowed to invited 20 family members, Bishop Nkuo invited the candidates he was about to ordain as priests to be messengers of hope in their priestly life.

“You are called upon to bring the message of hope to God’s people especially in these challenging times of insecurity and the coronavirus pandemic,” the 67-year-old Cameroonian Prelate told candidates and added, “You should be at the service of the people. The Priest today must be an agent of hope to a dying and suffering people.”

Bishop Nkuo who doubles as the President of Bamenda Province Ecclesiastical Conference (BAPEC) underscored the need to be authentic witnesses saying, “You can only succeed in this mission of bringing hope to the people if you live an exemplary life among the people and communities you will be called to serve. Your actions should kindle in them hope, strengthen their faith and give them courage to face these challenges.” 

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He further encouraged those he was to ordain to the priesthood to be “Priests in whose eyes and whose smile and in whose word and in whose tears people encounter the face and the heart of Jesus.”

“Be a priest who is a living instrument of Jesus’s love and compassion, of his mercy, of his patience, of his forgiveness,” Bishop Nkuo reiterated.