Don’t “become a burden”: Catholic Bishop in Nigeria to 26 Newly Ordained Priests

A poster showing the 26 new Priests ordained by Bishop Godfrey Igwebuike Onah of Nigeria’s Nsukka Diocese on 26 August 2023. Credit: Nsukka Diocese

The 26 newly ordained Priests in Nigeria’s Nsukka Diocese have been cautioned against becoming burdens to their leaders in the practice of their Priestly ministry.

In his homily during the August 26 ordination event, Bishop Godfrey Igwebuike Onah cautioned, “Anytime you become a burden to your Superior or Bishop, you have failed. You are meant to help him carry the burden of leadership and sanctification.”

Bishop Onah challenged Catholic Church leaders to have the right perspective of Priests, saying, “Any Bishop who sees his Priests as a burden or problem also has a problem because your Priest is a gift to you for the Church for which you should be grateful not complain.”

The Nigerian Catholic Bishop urged the 26 Deacons he was about to ordain Priests to recognize their Priestly vocation as a gift, given to them to “sanctify others”.

He said, “Every Priest, every Bishop is a gift consecrated by God and given to the Church in order to consecrate or sanctify others.”


“The Priesthood is a gift and every Priest is a gift. None of us is entitled to anything, neither the Church nor the family,” Bishop Onah emphasized during the Eucharistic celebration that was held at St. Theresa Cathedral of Nsukka Diocese.

He encouraged the 26 members of the Clergy to foster collaboration, saying, “You are called to participate in the ministry of the Bishop, to help your Bishop and to be united with the Bishop because the Bishop is the leader of a believing community.”

“These young men who are being given to me as helpers, as gifts, are an answer to my prayers,” he said, adding, “My prayers not as Godfred Onah and gifts to me not as Godfrey Onah but to me as the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka because I am the leader of the people of God in Nsukka in prayer to God.”

The Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of Nigeria’s Nsukka Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in July 2013 told the Deacons to be ordained Priests that they will get “gifts through the instrumentality of the Bishop and some of these gifts may make you shine even more than your Bishop or your superior for those who are religious but it does not place you above them.”

“We are a gift to Moses for the good of the people of Israel to lead them. So also, we are the apostles’ gifts from God to Jesus,” Bishop Onah said.

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He reiterated, “As we thank God for these young men, I want to remind them and to remind myself that they are gifts to the Church through the Bishop and their Superiors.”

The 26 who were ordained Priests during the August 26 event include Deacons Emmanuel U. Okeze, Hillary O. Ogbonnal, Hillary N. Ogbonnal, Kingsley I. Onyishi, Henry N. Akah, Hillary E. Mamah, Canice N. Onah, Paschal K. Nweke, Fidelis C. Asadu, Vitus I. Odoh, and Anselm A. Onah.

Other Deacons ordained Priests include Christian K. Ukwuoma, Emmanuel A. Nwafor, Charles C. Nnadi, Emmanuel O. Odoh, Emmanuel O. Ogbonna, Gerald C. Asogwal, Vitus O. Onyishi, Christian O. Ugwu, Christian N. Nnadi, Jude N. Ozor, Hillary U. Eze, Paschal Anike, Malachi A. Ugwu, Gregory K. Abonyi and Peter U. Obodoechina.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.