…knocks Buhari govt on insecurity
By Constaincia Uruakpa
Catholic priests have been urged to guard the dignity of the priesthood, by being faithful to the work, which they have committed themselves to, as well as being available for the people at all times. The charge was given by Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Thursday, at the ordination. ceremony of six new priests in the Archdiocese of Lagos, held September 2, 2021, at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, Ajao Estate, Lagos Advising the newly ordained priests, Archbishop Martins reminded them that they have received grace that is not common to all. He said: “First of all, they should recognise the fact that they have been given a grace that not many people have, and therefore, they should guard the dignity of the priesthood with everything that they have. And of course, guarding the dignity of the priesthood means also, being faithful to the work, which they have committed themselves to, being available for the people all the time, taking time to prepare, in order to minister to the people of God.
” The Archbishop commended the newly ordained priests for persevering and being there for ordination, as he asked the faithful to continue to pray for them for the grace of perseverance. According to Archbishop Martins, priests and religious need perseverance to conquer the allurements that exist in the world. He said: “Perseverance for priests and religious these days is a grace that is truly, truly needed. There are many allurements that could truncate perseverance, and therefore, I ask you to please pray in particular for perseverance in the faith, perseverance in the vocation. “These days, we see that sometimes the allure of what we call false knowledge, sometimes leads people astray; knowledge that is derived from the internet, not from deep study, but from articles drawn from the internet, have led some to go astray and therefore, abandon the priesthood.
That’s why it’s necessary that we pray for our priests for perseverance in the faith, for perseverance in the vocation.” Speaking on the state of the nation, the prelate challenged the president Muhammadu Buhari led government to do more in tackling insecurity, and killings across the country, rather than hounding those who make attempt to provide security for themselves. “There is a need to challenge and hold accountable those who have the responsibility over our security, and call them to order. They are hounding those who make attempt to provide security for themselves. “Government is not doing enough to address insecurity. Thing’s have got much worse, under the watch of the president. We challenge the government and security agencies to do the right thing, by providing security, if they can’t, they should throw in the towel, and tell Us they cannot do the work anymore, if they cannot solve the security situation in the country.”
According to the Archbishop, there is a need for government to persecute those identified as sponsors and supporters of insurgency and banditry, in the north, to show government’s seriousness in tackling security challenges in the country. He stated that it is discouraging for any government official, be it governor or the presidency to ask Nigerians to defend themselves. Praying for men and women, individuals and associations off lay faithful, who train priests, the Archbishop called for more people to be part and parcel of those who help the Church in training seminarians for the priesthood. Delivering his homily on the occasion, Rev. Fr. Panachy Ogbede, Paris Priest, Catholic Church of the Visitation, Festac Town, quoted e words of Pope Benedict XVI, as he advised the newly ordained priests to let their dignity emerge from who they are and not from what they possess.
Speaking on the mystery of the priesthood, fr. Ogbede stated that it priesthood is one of the greatest gift that the heavens have bequeathed to humanity. He said; “In the priesthood, we are given the opportunity to participate in the life of Christ. We are called not to offer lambs, bullocks or doves, but to offer ourselves as a victim. “We need the grace of God more to fulfill our roles as victims because you will now be the bridge through which God’ mercy reaches humanity. This is a great task. it should remind you that the priesthood is not your own, but belongs to Christ. You are unworthy to be a custodian of this inestimable gift, yet God grants us His Grace, so that through us, the glory of His only begotten Son can be reached.
This is a great privilege. It is never a right, as such you must always look and learn from the examples of Christ. Giving an instance of the gospel of Luke 5:1-11, where Jesus told the disciples to pull out a little from the shore, he advised e priests that they must never be carried away by the euphoria of success, rather, they must learn to be distinct, exceptional and seek divine guidance always “Don’t compete with the people of God; rather draw yourself closer to God who supplies all your needs, by putting out into the deep He catches more. It is the fruits of this catch that Jesus will bring to this people. You too must know that it is the fruits you get from your encounter with God that you must share with the people. ” He advised the priests not to cut themselves from their prayer life because it is easy for one to lose their prayer life in a secularistic world.
“You need all the help from God in this life to fulfill His mission. Prayer adds nothing to God, but draws us closer to Him. In prayer, you will constantly hear His voice and understand that all you are doing today is to answer that call. Do not ever forget that you are sustained by the prayers of your bishop, your brother priests and the people of God”, he said. The priest advised parents and family members of priests, not to put pressure on their children, by seeking after their possessions, as he reminded them that everything the priest owns belongs to the church. ;”One may be tempted to ask, what is our gain for giving the Church our son.
Parents and family members of priests must be careful not to put pressure on their children. Remember, everything we own as priests were given to us because we are priests; take away the priesthood from an individual, will the people of God still be there for him. So, everything a priest owns belongs to the Church because the priest belongs to the Church “, he said. The newly ordained priests include, Rev. Frs. Joseph Odozi. Michael Ekoja , Stephen Izebuno, John Mmadu, Theopilus Inegbeneboh and Boniface Aniebue.