Through Vivian Onyebukwa
St. The Peter Claver Catholic Church, Ajao Estate, Lagos, was in turmoil recently as six priests were ordained by the Catholic Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos, Bishop Alfred Adewale Martins. They include Odozi Joseph, Ekoja Michael, Izebuno Stephen, Inegbeneboh Theophilus, Aniebue Boniface and Mmadu Chibueze John.
Those present at the event include His Eminence, Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos, many Reverend Fathers, Reverend Sisters, members of the knighthood, various Catholic religious organizations, family members of ordained priests, friends and supporters.
Speaking at the ordination, Archbishop Martins urged the newly ordained priest to teach the doctrine that will nourish God’s people. He said, âLet the doctrine that you teach be the food of the people of God. Let the example of your life attract followers of Christ, so that by word and deed you can build up the house which is the Church of God. Likewise, you must accomplish your mission of sanctification in the power of Christ. Your ministry will complete the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful by uniting it with the sacrifice of Christ, a sacrifice which is offered sacramentally by your hands. Know what you are doing and imitate the mystery you are celebrating â.
The Archbishop further advised new priests to recognize that they have received a grace that few have and that they should keep the dignity of the priesthood with all that they have.
âThey should be loyal to the job they are engaged in, which must be available to the people all the time, and take the time to prepare to serve the people appropriately,â he said.
Regarding the wave of insecurity in the country, the Archbishop criticized the government for not doing enough to protect the life and property of the people: âHonestly, if there is a problem which is the main problem of the Nigeria is indeed that of insecurity. I think our government is not doing enough. The president is not doing enough.
He also urged the government to be more serious in securing the population and in finding a lasting solution to insecurity in Nigeria. He said: âWe must pray for those in parts of the country and the world who are facing the challenges of insecurity, especially in Nigeria.
âWe should also challenge those in government who have a responsibility to do more and make sure they protect the people.
âUnder President Buhari, things got worse in Nigeria. On the one hand, they say to protect themselves, but they stop people who are doing something to protect themselves. They should just quit, if they can’t do the job, rather than come up with excuses. “
He therefore advised the government to ensure that those who commit crimes are arrested and prosecuted.
The archbishop also recognized the role of the church in the development of the nation. According to him, the church has a major role to play in nation building by educating people about the need for good citizenship. “The church has a role to play in reaching out to those with governance responsibility where they find things are wrong, and in raising awareness at the grassroots as well.”
Reverend Father Boniface Aniebue, one of the new priests, while giving thanks to God for their accomplishment, attributed it to prayer. He said, âWe are able to accomplish this day through prayer. Believe that with prayer anything is possible. Prayer is also the reason we are called. We are only called by his grace.
Pie Odozi, father of Joseph Odozi, one of the consecrated priests, expressed his joy at the event and said: âI am really upset. I looked forward to this day.
On the reasons why he allowed his son to become a priest, he said: âThe vocation is a prophetic call between the called one and the caller, so no human being should stand in the way.