….Bishop Okpaleke Ordains 14 New Deacons, 5 New Priests for Spiritans
By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
Three pioneer students of the Congregation of the Spiritans’ South East Nigeria-owned Holy Ghost Academy, Amaokpala (HGAA), Orumba North LGA, Anambra State, were on Saturday, August 7, 2021, ordained Catholic deacons for the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Province of Nigeria South East.
The three were ordained alongside eleven other new deacons and five new priests by the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ekwulobia (CADEK), Most Rev Peter Ebere Okpaleke, at Holy Ghost Novitiate Awo-Omamma, Imo State.
It was on the occasion of the 2021 Diaconal/Priestly Ordination of the Congregation of the Spiritans.
Fides gathered that the new deacons who were pioneer students of HGAA, included Rev Michael Onyejinaka, C.S.Sp, a native of Oko, Anambra State; Rev Chukwuma Okechukwu, C.S.Sp, a native of Umuomaku, Anambra State and Rev Benedict Esidem, C.S.Sp, a native of Ekpenyong Atai 1, Akwa Ibom State. They graduated from the Congregation-owned secondary school in July 2009.
Eleven other new deacons who were ordained alongside the three included Rev Chidiebere Cosmas Ezenwekwe, C.S.Sp, a native of Nnobi, Anambra State; Rev Nzube MorganKevin Ilechukwu, C.S.Sp, a native of Ihiala, Anambra State; Rev Callistus Okwuchukwu Iwuozor, C.S.Sp, a native of Ihiala, Anambra State; Rev Kenneth Ofoma, C.S.Sp, a native of Akokwa, Imo State; Rev Fidelis Chidiebere Okoh, C.S.Sp, a native of Umuotugbu-ona, Enugu State and Rev Joseph Okoye, C.S.Sp, a native of Akpo, Anambra State.
Others were Rev Titus Afatang, C.S.Sp, of Sankwala, Obanlika, Cross River State; Rev Valentine Osita Akah, C.S.Sp, of Okporo-Orlu, Imo State; Rev Matthew Maobim Egwuenu, C.S.Sp, of Ihiala, Anambra State; Rev Meksifon Asuquo Esenem, C.S.Sp, of Abok, Akwa Ibom State and Rev Anthony Inyang Etim, of Odoro Ko, Akwa Ibom State.
The five new priests were Rev Fr Chidike Cosmas Okoli, C.S.Sp, of Ihite, Orumba South LGA, Anambra State; Rev Fr Ifeanyichukwu Sebastian Egbuaba, C.S.Sp of Owa, Nkanu East LGA, Enugu State; Rev Fr Iheanyichukwu Jude Okoroji, C.S.Sp, of Umuogo-Ugiri, Isiala Mbano LGA, Imo State; Rev Fr Karl Umege, C.S.Sp, of Obodoukwu, Ideato North LGA, Imo State and Rev Fr Ihunanyachukwu Patrick Okoro, C.S.Sp of Owerri, Imo State.
In his homily of the diaconal/priestly ordination Mass, Most Rev Peter Ebere Okpaleke urged the ordinands to hold on to the mystery of the faith, as well as proclaim the word of God by their words and actions.
According to the bishop, the deacons and the priests were not only the hearers of the word of God, but also the preachers of both the word and the mysteries of God.
In an interview with Fides, the pioneer principal, HGAA, Rev Fr John Chukwuemeka Anyaegbunam, CSSp, thanked God for the share he gave the ordinands in the sacred diaconal and priestly vocation.
On whether he anticipated that the pioneer students would be priests, Fr Anyaegbunam, CSSp, who said he was happy over their ordination, expressed the hope that some of the students would toe the line of their religious vocation due to the proper formation which they were given.
‘I was confident that some of the students will become priests because they showed early signs of embracing religious vocation at their formative stage,’ he said.
Pointing out that the formation programme which the students were given was the same as seminary formation, the former HGAA principal stated his conviction that with the good exemplary life of the priests, who, he said, gave the students holistic education, some of the students toed the part to priestly formation.
Rev Fr Anyaegbunam, who is currently the Principal of Father Philip Agu Spiritan Academy, Akabo, Ikeduru LGA, Imo State, encouraged the new deacons and the priests to be dispose themselves to the grace of God so as to be successful in their vocation.
Also speaking, the principal, HGAA, Rev Fr Jude Ekemgba, C.S.Sp, described the ordination of the three pioneer students as testament to the all-round formation and the holistic education of human persons which the school was committed to.
According to Fr Ekemgba, who is also the Counsellor in charge of Education, Congregation of the Spiritans, their congregation, Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, had holistic education and proper formation of the individual as its mission and vision.