His Grace Most Rev (Dr) Alfred Adewale Martins, the Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos recently ordained 5 Deacons as Catholic priest at St Jude’s Catholic Church, Mafoluku, Oshodi, he used the opportunity to call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to equip the army with the right tools to effectively fight Boko Haram and other security challenges, CYRIACUS NNAJI reports.
The ordination of priest in catholic church is not just a celebration of years of dedication, it is a also a moment of sober reflection, it is also a phase in the lives of the ordained to realize the essence of their chosen vocation.
On 24th September at Mafoluku Lagos young and vibrant young men ready to work in the vine yard of the lord Jesus where officially ordained by the Archbishop Adewale Martins.
Those who were crowned priest were Rev Paul Tobechukwu Ariole; Rev Joseph Chukwuemeka Okafor; Rev Harrison Chinagorom Okoli; Rev Emmanuel Emenike Onyia and Rev. Reuben Simeon Onyebuchi.
Speaking to the newly ordained priest, he said “For the newly ordained priests, they have ended a stage in their lives by entering a new stage. And this new stage, they are beginners, they are new priests, and so they need to be humble in order to learn; they need to be humble in order to get all the resources they need to do the work, and secondly, they should never ever forget, that Christ is their model, not anyone else, and therefore they should follow Christ, if there is any sort of conflict, Christ should be the guiding principle.
Speaking on closure of the country’s borders as a way of fighting insecurity, Martins said one must give government the benefit of the doubt that it knows what it is doing in terms of securing the nation. “However, this closure of the borders, they should also recognize that whatever good it has, it also has some negative impacts in the lives of people, and so they need to as it were, ensure that they balance the sides, between the good they want to achieve and the negative impact that the closure of the borders are having on the people,” Martins advised.
Speaking further he maintained that the new priests remain members of their families, adding also that the families have given them over for service, and therefore they should not be expecting them to be making contributions to all the family events that are going to take place. “They should recognize the fact that they do not earn salaries, and if they are going to be expected to do much more than the gift that they received, they will be forced into being dishonest. So the families should not put the vocations of their children in any form of jeopardy at all.”
Martins used the opportunity to speak on other issues “Priests and religious are to ensure that we engage our youths in a very healthy way in such a way that they can learn and grow in their faith and commitment to Christ. The second message is to remind ourselves of the fact that the month of October is a month to pray for Nigeria but also to remind ourselves of our call for evangelization for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, and thirdly the message for the leaders of our nation, that insecurity in our nation is beginning to look to ordinary people as if it has overwhelmed government.
“It is looking as if the armed forces and other security agencies and government do not know what to do any more. For which reason we are calling on people to pray for our nation to pray for leaders for new direction, but also to see that our leaders provides the right kind of equipment that our troops need in order to fight Boko Haram.
“The Boko Haram and ISWAP are using the right kind of gadgets and the latest technological instruments to fight the war whereas our own soldiers are using equipment that were bought in 1979/1980, that are not being manufactured anymore, as a result of which, the equipment break down during war, as a result of which they are even cannibalizing one in order to make the others work. It is a lot of troubles for our forces, as many just get killed by that, because they do not have the backup to carry out their duties. And yet we have been told that N33trillion was voted for defence in the last ten years, one wonders what has happened, much of that N33trillion supposed to be capital expenditure, buying of equipment, buying of military hardware, but our soldiers are just dying in the war because of inadequate equipment”
Martins therefore advised the government on what to do. “So we just urged government to do a little more on what they have done before, ensure that our troops are well equipped, and to ensure that they are given the morale booster that they need to carry out this war against Boko Haram.”
The new priests remain members of their families, but also the families have given them over for service, and therefore they should not be expecting them to be making contributions to all the family events that are going to take place. They should recognize the fact that they do not earn salaries, and if they are going to be expected to do much more than the gift that they received, they will be forced to into being dishonest. So the families should not put the vocations of their children in any form of jeopardy at all.
Rev Paul Tobechukwu Ariole, one of the newly ordained priests while thanking God disclosed “In Nigeria we started with 149 persons but only 20 emerged successful. It is only the grace of God that made it possible. There were times you are tired, you experience this spiritual slot, but God through his act of mercy drew us to himself.”
Speaking further he said “No sin of yours is bigger than his love for you. It is a beautiful thing serving the lord. I thank all those who made this day possible, for their encouragement, there were occasions I became tired but they encouraged me to go on.”