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Priesthood Defined by Offering “sacrifice of praise”: Nuncio in Kenya at Ordination

Fr. Stephen Otieno Makagutu at the ordination event that took place at St. Peter Claver’s Catholic Parish Lwak of Kenya’s Kisumu Archdiocese.

The identity of a Priest is manifested in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist during which he offers the “sacrifice of praise” for the salvation of souls, the representative of the Holy Father in Kenya said Friday, December 11.

Addressing himself to the Deacon he was about to ordain a Priest, Archbishop Bert van Megen said that God called him in the Order of Franciscans Minor Capuchin to witness to His presence “in the villages or the small towns.”

“Being a Priest only means that Christ has chosen you to offer the sacrifice of praise; to offer the Holy Eucharist to God; to offer the Body and Blood of Christ to God in order that all of us would be saved and our souls will be saved,” Archbishop van Megen said in his homily during the Priestly ordination of Deacon Stephen Otieno Makagutu.

He added, “The vocation of a Capuchin is to live in the villages in small communities; to live a life of prayer and witness with the people; to be the presence of God in the villages or the small towns.”

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“Stephen is called to that, so that people may recognize in him something of that kind, a Priest, Melchizedek, the righteous King,” the Archbishop said and added, “King not because he is so holy, not because he does so well, but because he puts his trust in God himself.”

“To be a Priest is not an achievement. To be a Priest doesn’t mean that you are holier and better than others,” the Apostolic Nuncio who also represents the Holy Father in South Sudan said at the ordination event that took place at St. Peter Claver’s Catholic Parish Lwak of Kenya’s Kisumu Archdiocese.

He went on to encourage the Deacon to remain faithful in his Priestly Ministry which will be “a struggle like any vocation is a struggle.”

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Making reference to the letter of St. Paul to the Hebrews where Jesus prayed with “loud cries and supplication” while on the Cross, the Nuncio said, “Many times in our lives it works like that; we feel abandoned and lonely. In your religious life, in your priestly life, you will ask ‘Why does nobody help me? Why does nobody stand next to me? Why does nobody guide me out of this darkness?’”

“But it is exactly at that point that our life is at its most fruitful,” the 59-year-old Dutch Archbishop observed, adding, “Jesus prayed for us and continues praying for us saying that we should be sanctified in the truth.”

The Apostolic Nuncio further underscored the need to trust in God and especially to be continually aware that “God puts his hand on us; that I remain with Him, whatever happens in my life, in good and bad, in wealth and poverty, in health and sickness, in light and darkness.” 

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“May Stephen be a Priest according to the heart of Jesus,” the Papal Representative in Kenya and South Sudan said. 

As we pray for the new Priest, the Apostolic Nuncio said, “we also want to pray for all these other Priests, present here that they may open their hearts as much as Christ opened his heart for us, that we will be courageous enough to face the crises, the darkness, the conflict in our lives as a sacrifice for God, identifying with Christ himself who faced the greatest darkness as he died for us on the cross.”