The Archbishop, His Excellency, Most Reverend Fortunatus Nwachukwu, has urged the newly ordain priests of the Schoenstatt Order to be good shepherds as Jesus has modelled to us. He made this remark during his Homily at the priestly ordination on the 26 th June, 2022, at the Schoenstatt Community House, Ijokodo, Ibadan.
The Most Reverend who was also the ordaining Prelate at the colourful ordination ceremony expressed his joy to everyone as he affirmed that it is indeed a day that the Lord has made for all to rejoice and be glad.
While commending the celebrants and their families for the good choice they have made, he specifically reminded the new priests and the entire congregation about the esteemed dignity of every Christian in carrying the tripod identity – priest, king and prophet. He said: “through the virtue of baptism making all Christians priests except the ministerial priests being ordained on this day.
1peter2:9, reminds us that we are all Christians, a royal priesthood. So, every Christian, since you are participating in the life of Christ, you are a priest and since it is royal, you are a king. I think every Christian should be proud of this. That is the high dignity of every Christian.”
The Archbishop explained further from the old tradition of priesthood of Melchizedek.
“Melchizedek had no father and mother and no trace of any human genealogy, therefore, among the people of God and in the Church, it is very important to learn the lesson of not giving treatment based on where priests come from.”
Explaining about the concept of a priest, he revered the powerful models and engaged fruitfully in the word Pontiff from the Latin root meaning Bridge Builder.
He said, “A Priest is somebody who sacrifices by building a bridge between humans and the divine.”
At the root of his homily, he asserted that there are two cardinal mandates that make and guide a priest: “the Missionary Mandate to go out to the world and win souls for God and the Pastoral Mandate to cooperate and work in unison and obedience with the authority and Bishops of the Church.
You cannot be a priest and be doing your own thing, saying your own thing, disobeying the Bishop, ignoring the Bishop and still claim to be an authentic Priest. You are called to be collaborators of the bishops as pastors.
And this is the pastoral mandate of the priestly ministry’. While calling for deep relationship with Jesus Christ through prayers, he emphasised the need for the three evangelical vows – Obedience, Poverty and Chastity.
On the present state of politics and current developments in Nigeria, the Archbishop lent his voice for transparency of the voters’ registration, education and sensitization of the people to choose and elect people from the perspectives of competency, capacity and track record rather than any sentiments of religion or region or tribe.
He said, "democracy makes no sense if it is reserved to elected group of people who go there and decide on behalf of others selfishly’.
He added that violence does not favour anyone and the question of insecurity is a collective role of all Nigerians.
Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu concluded his Homily advising the new Priests that the Staff of the Shepherd is not only designed to be used as a weapon to reprimand the erring followers, but also to be used ultimately, with the hook, to draw the people of God from their errors and sins and guide them closer to God.
Present at the ordination were Archbishop of Ibadan ably represented by the Dean of the Deanery and Episcopal Vicar, Very Reverend Fr. Felix Etapemi; the Rector of Saints Peter and Paul represented by the Vice Rector, very Reverend Fr. Anthony Ubokemi as well as many other priests, religious from different communities and many families, friends and colleagues.
The four newly ordained priests includes: Revd. Emmanuel Emenike Okeke, Revd. Stanley Ikechukwu Ukasoanya, Revd. John Ojoche Obute and Revd. Cyprian Atin Avong.
The event which was a stunning and beautiful atmosphere and exciting mood was well attended from far and wide, and different walks of life by families and friends of Shoenstatt Community.