, 17 August, 2020 / 10:00 PM
Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese has implored the people of God in the West African country to support their Priests, to pray for them and mostly, to talk to Jesus and “our Mother Mary” when they feel that their Pastors have gone astray.
Archbishop Kaigama made the remarks during the ordination of seven Deacons to the Priesthood at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral in Abuja on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saturday, August 15.
“Support these new Priests to be in love with Jesus and to be witnesses rather than mere teachers or preachers. Talk to our Mother Mary about us your Priests,” Archbishop Kaigama said in his August 15 Homily.
He added, “Always ask God to strengthen the faith of your Priests. Report us to Jesus when we err and invoke the Holy Spirit to show us the right path. Together, we shall succeed in the name of Jesus.”
The seven who were ordained Priests included Deacons John Anaebo, Donald Jooji, Lucky Francis, Mark Ogueli, Anthony Adeh, Samson Emhokidi, and Valentine Nzekah.
At the Saturday event, the Local Ordinary of Abuja expressed joy following the ordination of the Priests who he described as “dynamic and energetic labourers who are ready to launch into the deep are being conferred with Priestly dignity.”
“May the Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for them to be committed to their Priestly vocation for the salvation of souls, without counting the cost,” the Nigerian Prelate said.
He further said, “The new Priests we ordain today other than preaching the word and celebrating the sacraments are called, according to Isaiah 61:1-3, to heal the broken-hearted, to serve the poor, to bring relief to those who mourn, captives, widows, orphans, the sick and prisoners who are often neglected by society.”
“John 20:21-23 invites them to be instruments of peace and forgiveness, while 1 Peter 5:2 urges them to shepherd the flock of God that is entrusted to them, not looking for a reward but with a generous heart and to always be an example to the flock,” said Archbishop Kaigama.
By accepting ordination, the Priests have opted to be very close friends of Jesus and to make more friends for Jesus, the 62-year-old Archbishop said, adding that prayer will be the secret of their success “as it is the oxygen for Priestly ministry.”
“When a priest stops praying or prays without proper interior stillness, he suffers spiritual asphyxiation,” Archbishop Kaigama cautioned those he was about to ordain Priests.
The Archbishop of Abuja divulged that plans were underway to create new “pastoral areas” in the Archdiocese and told those he was to ordain shortly to prepare themselves to take charge of the anticipated prayer centers.
“Recently, the Consultors, Deans and Priests and I have been discussing the possibility of creating new pastoral areas, that is, areas that could be developed to grow into parishes in the future,” he said, and added, “This initiative is in line with the recent instruction from Rome on ‘The Pastoral Conversion of the Parish Community in the Service of the Evangelizing Mission of the Church.’”
The Archbishop noted that just as the early Christian missionaries left the comfort of their homes, completely detached from their friends and families and material comfort, so was the world in need of more Priests with keen missionary sensitivity.
He also called on the People of God in Africa’s most populous nation, including those in impoverished places, to give home to the Priests who would be sent to minister in their midst.
“Some Priests may be sent to places without a parish house or church building, but through the kindness of our beloved lay people, the Priests will live with them, eating and drinking whatever they are given,” he said, and added, “I call on you, dear people of God, to support this pastoral initiative and to take up sponsorship in part or in full, of Church buildings or parish houses or purchase of land in these new pastoral areas.”
And speaking on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Archbishop Kaigama called for prayers through the intercession of the Virgin Mary for those who have lost their lives in the killings in North Nigeria and appealed for dialogue to end the violence.
“As we pray at this Mass, let us remember the families and individuals who have lost their loved ones in the recent guerrilla attacks in Southern Kaduna and other parts of the nation,” he said.
He added, “We have had enough of these killings. Dialogue can resolve problems better than guns, bombs and arrows. We call on the Government at all levels to provide immediate and lasting security solutions.”
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