“Priests are instruments in the hand of God”: South Sudanese Prelate at Ordination

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu during the Diaconate and Priestly Ordination Mass last Saturday, August 15, 2020.

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu of South Sudan’s Juba Archdiocese has, during the Diaconate and Priestly Ordination last Saturday, told those to be ordained to consider themselves “instruments in the hand of God” in their apostolate.

“When we celebrate the Mass, it is the Priest on behalf of Christ because our mission is to prolong the work of Christ. The Bishops plus all the Priests and Deacons are instruments in the hand of God,” Archbishop the three candidates he was about to ordain August 15.

He added, “It is not we (Prelates) who administer the sacraments; we are only instruments. It is God that administers the sacraments through our hands.”

The two who were ordained Deacons at St. Theresa’s Cathedral, Kator in Juba included Ngbo Fufunga Justin from the DR Congo and Boosuuro Maaso-Endogee from Ghana, both members of the Comboni Missionaries. Indian-born Salesian of Don Bosco, Arocha Tamil Selvan was ordained a Priest.


Archbishop Ameyu lamented about the dwindling number of people who choose Religious Life in the country saying, “Our numbers as Priests are dwindling; there are fewer priests; there are fewer Sisters; there are fewer Brothers.”

“My Priests and Deacons to be, it is not easy to stand and present yourself worthy of this ministry. No one among us is worthy of this ministry. It is only the grace of God that makes us worthy,” he said, and added, “If we lacked that grace, we would not be here… The Lord has called you to be in his presence but it is your role to be in the presence of God every day of your life, to serve God first.”

The South Sudanese Prelate emphasized the need for the candidates to be a good example to all those they were going to serve.

“As young people, you have said yes to the Lord and we will follow you. It is not easy to follow the way of the Lord. There are many crosses you will carry before you are glorified,” he said, and invited the three to strive for God’s guidance.

“Seek above all else to offer yourself to the Lord in sincere humility and the Lord will give you the necessary grace to be humble enough to be a servant of others. Obedience to the Lord comes through the obedience to your Superiors,” Archbishop Ameyu told the three candidates before their ordination.

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The Archbishop who doubles as Apostolic Administrator of South Sudan’s Torit Diocese encouraged the candidates to stand firm amidst challenges posed by their new experience.

“Sin is present in our world but it must not make us run away. If the Lord had run away from the temptations and sufferings that he had experienced, we would not have the Church today,” he said.

Turning to the congregation at the August 15 event, he said, “My dear brothers and sisters, this priesthood is not any particular to those who are sitting here at the altar. There is what we call a common priesthood we got from our baptism.”

He explained, “We are all Priestly people; that is why we are called to sanctity. In the degree of our own lives, the Lord calls us to holiness. He would like to sanctify us every day of our lives.”


Meanwhile, addressing the congregation at the August 15 ordination event, South Sudan’s Environment and Forestry Minister, Josephine Napon Cosmos, announced the Government’s intention to disinfect Catholic church premises when the Presidency lifts COVID-19 measures restricting public worship.

She invited the people of God to join government officials in disinfecting the Church premises every week before the Sunday services.

“I know that the President promised to open places of worship. When this is made official, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry will be in charge of disinfection of Churches,” Ms. Napon said.

She added, “I would like to have a team from the side of the Church to join the ministry so that every Saturday, we will be sending these teams to disinfect the church before Sunday prayers.” 

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The government has made it a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the citizens in the country, Ms. Napon said, adding, “The people who go to churches are our voters. They are our population; we need to protect their health.”

Addressing the government official, Archbishop Ameyu said the Church was ready to cooperate with the government in ensuring that COVID-19 regulations were adhered to.

“I have seen the guidelines for the National force and they are similar to the guidelines developed by the COVID-19 taskforce of the Archdiocese of Juba. It will therefore be easy for us to work together with the government taskforce,” the Metropolitan Archbishop said.