NIGERIA, Michael Okpala, Schoenstatt Fathers’s student •
10 December 2016 has providentially entered the annals of Nova Spes Sion course and the Nigerian Schoenstatt Fathers’ Community history. On this day, the five members of this course were ordained to the transitional diaconate. This ordination is a precursor to their priestly ordination, which is slated for 6 May 2017. In this year, the Nigerian Community will be celebrating twenty-five years of Schoenstatt’s presence in Nigeria. This same 2017 priestly ordination will bring the number of Nigerian Schoenstatt Fathers to twenty-five.
Called to be disciples of charity
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Abeokuta, Nigeria, the Most Rev. Peter Kayode Odetoyinbo, was the ordaining prelate of this diaconal ordination. The five ordinands were: Rev. Raymond Odo, Joseph Edosonwam, Stanley Obijiaku, Patrick Ogbonna and Henry Dike. The ordination event was held within the community and was attended by the parents, family members, friends and well-wishers of the ordinands. At the mass, the Bishop began his homily, as it were, by entrusting the soon-to-be ordained deacons to the special and perpetual care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in whom the Schoenstatt Fathers Community have their special mission and devotion. He further exhorted the deacons to be dutiful in their work of being ‘the’ disciples of charity and in the proclamation of the word of God. He emphasized the need to focus more on what ought to be done. For if what ought to be done is done, what ought not to be done will necessarily not be done. For good and evil are necessarily incompatible and do not co-exist. He thanked the parents, benefactors and benefactresses for their support and further enjoined the students to remain focused in their journey towards ascending the clerical state to the priesthood.
Pure joy: the first ordination in five years
The mass began and ended with joyful rejoicing, as it had been about four years since the last ordination. The success and fruitfulness of this ordination event finds its instrumentality in our Pater Familias, Fr. Juan Pablo Catoggio, who was with the community for two years before his election as General Superior and who was also the moderator for the five-day preparation retreat of these five deacons. The Nigerian Community expresses their complete gratitude to him and renews her indebtedness to him as a gift to us.
For information on the Schoenstatt Fathers check out:
Schoenstatt Fathers – Official Webseite: www.schoenstatt-fathers.org