The Catholic Diocese of Okigwe, on this day, September 23, 2023 added 11 to the number of her priests. The bishop, Most Rev. Solomon Amamchukwu Amatu, in a Holy Mass that began at exactly 10:00 am, in keeping with the traditional practice of the Church for her subsistence, solemnly admitted 11 able bodied young men to the list of her priests, by administering the sacrament of Holy Orders. The new priests include:
1. Rev. Fr. Paschal Ebirim
2. Rev. Fr. Christian Egbu
3. Rev. Fr. Victor Nnorom
4. Rev. Fr. Victor Nwangwu
5. Rev. Fr. Vitus Ohagwu
6. Rev. Fr. Hillary Mmeru
7. Rev. Fr. Franklin Okafor
8. Rev. Fr. Zachary Nwabekee
9. Rev. Fr. Anthony Nwokorie
10. Rev. Fr. Innocent Nwanne
11. Rev. Fr. Bright Oformezie.
Before their ordination, the bishop admonished the candidates, the older priests present, as well as the gathered congregation. He pointed out three primary functions of a priest to include:
– Teaching: it’s the function of the priest to teach people about the kingdom of God. The scope of their teaching excludes the mundane, rather, the sacred; specifically, the way to heaven.
– Sanctification of the People of God: by the fact of their ordination, the Church empowers priests to sanctify others. The palms of priests are anointed with the sacred Chrism. This empowerment sanctifies the priest first. They are therefore to live holy lives so that you become what you represent.
– Leadership: as good shepherds, priests must consider the environment of the people before they make demands of them. As leaders, they must show concern in the welfare of the people first. A priest must also take the lead, but not without the cooperation and incorporation of the people you they lead. A priest must resist the spirit of Napoleon Bonaparte. Hence, every parish must have laity council for this purpose.
Finally, the bishop requested the people of God to support their priests; by way of prayers, advice, finance etc. He then, acknowledged the spirit-inspired generosity of the people of God in Igbo land.
Commenting on the event, the Diocesan Chancellor/Secretary, Very Rev. Fr. Princewill Iwuanyanwu, sent his gratitude to a special benefactor of the Diocese, Barr. Kelechi Emekaroha and his family, for sowing the Chasubles which the newly ordained priests and the ordaining prelate wore for the ceremony. The Vicar General I, Very Rev. Msgr. John C. Iweh gave the vote of thanks on behalf of all the Okigwe Diocesan Priests, and the Mass dismissed at 1:25pm, followed by reception at various reception grounds.