By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
A Catholic priest of the Missionary of Saint Paul, Rev Fr Cyprian Ijezie, MSP, has advocated for what he called ministry of presence in human relationship, saying that hospitality without presence, is meaningless.
Rev Fr Ijezie, MSP, who is the parish priest of Ss Peter & Paul, Parish, Onitsha, stated this in his homily of the concelebrated Holy Mass for the grand reception of 7 new indigenous Catholic priests and 4 final professed reverend sisters of Nimo, at Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church, Nimo, on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
The Catholic priest, who chided those who don’t give their guests and their children in schools attention said, ‘Hospitality without Presence is not hospitality at all. Ministry of presence supersedes everything. Parents that only send money to their children in school, and do not care to visit them and see how they are faring, do not give such children proper upbringing.
He continued, ‘If you welcome someone in your house, and don’t care to give your guests attention, the hospitality is not complete. More often, the guests would value more the care and attention from their host, than from the servers employed to entertain them with food and drinks. It is meaningless if one invited guests to his house and won’t make out time to even exchange pleasantries with them, but instead abandon them to helpers almost throughout the day’.
Rev Fr Ijezie, who further based his reflections on the readings of the Sunday, maintained that the same way Abraham encountered God’s blessings due to his goodness and hospitality, was the same way, the goodness of all would open doors of breakthrough and success for them in life. He enjoined all to emulate Abraham and Martha in their spirits of hospitality and goodwill.
Reflecting further on the Book of Deuteronomy Chapter 6 verse 4, the homilist warned all against putting their trusts in worldly things, saying that such actions as one giving total attention to worldly things, and forgetting God, is unchristian.