Jubilation in Nsukka Diocese as 16 Deacons are ordained Priests

By Alphonsus Ogili

The Catholic Diocese of Nsukka in Enugu State is spiritually growing from strength to strength. The spiritual growth received a boost on August 19, 2017 as family members, friends and well-wishers turned out in their large numbers to celebrate with sixteen clergymen, who were elevated from the status of deacons to priests.

The sixteen deacons from the diocese were ordained priests by the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Prof. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah amidst cheers and jubilation by family, friends and well-wishers who could not hid their joy. On that Saturday of the epoch-making ordination, the venue, St. Theresa's Cathedral, Nsukka with over 4,000 capacities could not contain the new priests and their guests, making many who came to celebrate with them to stand outside till the end of the ordination Mass.

The turnout was very massive that it caused a gridlock along the Enugu road, Nsukka which led to the Cathedral. In his homily at the ordinationn Mass, Bishop Onah charged the new priests to gird up their loins for the enormous task of evangelism lying ahead of them. The Ordaining Prelate was displeased that evil and other criminal activities were rapidly growing in the world, stressing that their ordination was a strong call to take the message of salvation as prescribed by Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.

He made it clear to the new priests that their accomplished journey to priesthood is not by their power or act of righteousness but by the grace of God, urging them to embrace the teachings of Christ and live according to his standards as they are no longer servants but friends of Jesus. Father Bishop equally enjoined the new priests to pray always in order to overcome trials and tribulations which must surely come their way.

According to the Local Ordinary, prayer is the only weapon to overcome temptation. "As you are ordained priests today, Satan and his agents are not happy that you are going to preach the gospel of salvation that will bring lost souls back to Jesus Christ. So, the greatest weapon to defeat Satan and his agents is constant prayers," he said. Bishop Onah, who used the opportunity to remind the priests of the favour, love and mercy of God in their lives, also urged them to imbibe the virtue of humility throughout their priestly vocation.

He admonished them to focus on God and avoid tendency for materialism and unclean acts that will bring dishonour to the good name of the Catholic Church. The Father Bishop was very grateful to the parents, guardians, friends and well-wishers of the new priests for their moral and financial support to the newly ordained priests, reminding their parents that the new priests still need their moral and financial support.

"Do not demand much money from them to avoid exposing them to pressure that can lead them to fall into sin. Also, remember that you gave them as gifts to God so allow them to work for God with all their hearts and strength," Bishop Onah added. The newly ordained priests are Rev. Fr. Collins O. Ideh, Cosmas O. Udeagha, Cyprain O. Ugwuanyi, Dennis Agbo, Felix Mamah, Joseph I. Agbo, Joseph C. Asogwa and Joseph C. Chigbo.

Others include Rev. Frs. Jude-Mary Idoko, Jude O. Ugwu, Kingsley Ogbodo, Malachy Asadu, Nathaniel O. Ugwu, Oliver O. Ozioko, Stanislaus O. Ugwu and Victor O. Ozioko. Shortly after their ordination, the visibly elated men of God joined other priests in the altar and subsequently performed their first function of distributing Holy Communion to Catholic communicants at the ordination Mass.

The enormous joy written upon the faces of the newly ordained priests simply revealed it was a day they had been waiting for just as the reception of the event was characterized by spasms of laughter and demonstrations with glee.

The ordination of the 16 candidates marked a perfect birthday gift of Father Bishop Godfrey Onah to Nsukka sons and daughters and to the Catholic Church in general. We recall that Bishop Godfrey Onah marked his birthday on the 18th of August, 2017.

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