NIGERIA, Okpala Michael I. •
The priesthood is a gift from God to the Church and the world. Through the ministry of the priesthood, the sacrifice of Christ, and Christ himself, is made present in the sacred Body and Blood of Christ, God meets humanity in its utter miserableness, and, humanity is drawn up into the mercy of God. Heaven thus meets earth, and, earth is led heavenwards. This is the ministry that our four brothers have undertaken today. —
Anointed with the Holy Spirit
On this day, 25 May 2019, Rev. Frs. John Nnaemeka Iyoke, Jude Chinedu Eze, Ogbonna Ugochukwu Ugwoke, and Christian Okpanachi Dansuma, members of the course Apostles of the Covenant of Love, were ordained priests. The mass began at 10:50am with the ordaining prelate, the Most Rev. Godfrey I. Onah, Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, at St. Theresa’s Cathedral, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria. The Bishop began by thanking God for the gift of the priesthood and for the gift of these young men. During the homily, he said priests are chosen from among men, anointed with the Holy Spirit, and sent to act on behalf of humanity in their relations to God. According to him, this summarizes the life of the priesthood.
Standing before God on our behalf
Exhorting the soon to-be-ordained, as it were, and teaching the entire people of God, the Bishop said when God chooses, his choice is not modeled after human standards. In which case, these young men are not more special nor are they the most intelligent, or handsome. However God has chosen them from among us, and in God’s choice, our natural constitutions as human beings are not erased, rather, through his super-eminent grace, and our cooperative response, we battle our weaknesses and inabilities. Through the work of these priests, who are simply one of us and stand before God on our behalf, God’s word and grace comes to us and our supplications go to him. They are to bring the people to repentance and implore God’s mercy on them.
Speak only the words of God
To the new priests, the Bishop taught that they must do only what they are sent to do, and say and teach only what they are told to say and teach. Since their first assignment is to teach, they are to speak only the words of God, never their own words, and by so doing, make room for God himself and draw people into fellowship with this living God. After teaching, they are also to sanctify the people of God and then gather them as a shepherd gathers his flock.
Teach them, the Bishop strongly emphasized, about the God who revealed his face in Jesus Christ, and, draw their attention to the true religion revealed and practiced by Christ and his apostles in word and deed. Let your task, which is strictly that given to you by your superiors, be nurtured in obedience, sincere life of prayer and the faithful administration of the sacraments.
To all others, he exhorted, we must pray for our new priests and prepare ourselves for witnessing to Christ in a world, which is in dire need of it.
A joyful celebration
With the imposition of hands and the prayer of consecration, at about 12:22pm, our four brothers became priests to the glory of God and the honor of our dear MTA. This ordination raised the number of Nigerian Schoenstatt Fathers to twenty-nine. Present were: Frs. Pablo Pol (Representative of the General Superior), Kingsley Okereke (Superior Delegate), Charles Ozioko (Rector of Students), Herbert Opara (Novice Master), Reginald Ibe (Retreat Moderator), other Schoenstatt Fathers, many other priests within Nigeria, friends, family members, our students, friends from Argentina (Carolina, Julieta, Ivonne and Victoria) and well-wishers.
It was really a joyful celebration.
Long live the MTA!
Long live, Schoenstatt Nigeria!!
Long live, the Bishop and the Diocese of Nsukka!!!
Long live, the course of the Apostles of the Covenant of Love!!!!
Long live, our four new priests!!!!!
Website of the Schoenstatt Fathers: www.schoenstatt-fathers.org