BY SUNNY A. IJOMAH
The Catholic Bishop of Issele-Uku Diocese, Most Rev Michael Elue, has ordained three new priests for the diocese. It was on the occasion of the 2021 Priestly Ordination of the Diocese held at St Paul’s Cathedral, Issele-Uku, Delta State.
He said this at the Diocesan Priestly Ordination at St. Paul’s Cathedral Issele-Uku where three Priests were ordained for the Diocese are The new priest, who increased the number of the diocesan priests to 239 were Rev Fr Augustine Nwaefiene, Rev Fr Emmanuel Okocha and Rev Fr Vincent Okwuokei.
In his homily, the ordaining prelate, Bishop Michael Elue, thanked God that the Catholic Diocese of Issele-Uku which started in 1973 with eight priests and eight parishes, currently has 239 priests and many parishes.
Pointing out that the gift of the priesthood was totally gratuitous and non-deserving, the Catholic prelate, urged the priests to live up to the demands of their calling as Christ’s representatives.
According to him, Jesus chose priests in his name and for humankind. He described priests as authentic representatives of Christ in the World and co-workers with the bishop in the service of one true God.
‘The Holy Order by its virtue is at the service of the ecclesial community. Through the sacred ordination, the priests stand in the gap as they offered prayers and sacrifices to God for his honour and the good of the humankind. The Priesthood is not an ‘after thought’ of the Church but the initiative of Christ. Priests of the new covenant are set apart but not separated from the people for the work that God chose them for,’ Bishop Elue explained.
He continued, ‘Priests are called to know their sheep and not to be aloof with the life experiences of their flock. They are called to nourish the people of God with the sacraments and the word of God’.
The Catholic prelate, who thanked God for the more workers which he said he (God) sent to his vineyard, admonished the new priests to share the love of God, meditate on the word of God, believe what they teach, teach what they believe, practice what they believe and imitate the mysteries which they celebrate.
Bishop Elue enjoined the priests to take up the virtues self-denial, humility, obedience, truth, courage and temperance, which he said, make a priest and would lead them far. This was even as he advised them to cherish the gift of the priesthood and model their lives after the example of the Good Shepherd who according to him came not be served but to serve, and to seek the sick and the lost sheep.