Of Catholic Priests, Prayer Ministries and Faith of Parishioners

By Uche Amunike

I have written several articles concerning the role that Reverend Fathers play in the lives of the Catholic faithful. I was born into a strict Catholic home and luckily married a Catholic gentleman. What it means is that there is nothing I will see about the Catholic Church that will be new to me, having been born into it and having lived all my life practicing Catholicism.

It is one of the denominations that believe in humility, docility, compassion, responsibility and respectability. It is a denomination that gives young girls a formation that makes them stand out in any crowd as children that have good upbringing, just as their male counterparts. That is why if you see a young boy that was trained by Catholic priests, even if he ends up not being a priest, his body language will show you that he has good formation.

Some years back, I remember writing about Father Mbaka after he was involved in this crazy controversy concerning former President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, shortly before the presidential election, that year. It was controversial because at a point it turned out that Fr Mbaka insulted Goodluck Jonathan, openly referring to him as bad luck to Nigerians.

He went on to praise Muhammadu Buhari, whom he said would be an answered prayer to our country Nigeria. Today you and I know that the reverse is the case and his prophecy did not hold water. I also remember so many of my readers either calling me or texting me to insult me for daring to write negativity about Fr Mbaka back then. Most of them called me unprintable names and I continued to tell them that I owed them no apologies for speaking my mind about the misconduct displayed by Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka.

He prophesied that Buhari would be an answered prayer to this country. God in heaven will bear Nigerians witness that it was a false prophesy, because Nigeria has never been as bad as it is presently under the leadership of Buhari. Moving forward, after Buhari won the election, Fr Mbaka waited for him to attend his bazaar. When he didn’t, he poured invectives on him in absentia, bragging that after praying for his life to be spared when he was sick, he still refused to come and show gratitude by taking up at least, one project in his ministry.

It was a terrible scene to watch, as a Catholic. A very disgusting show of shame to witness on social media. It was outrightly embarrassing. He sees himself as a god.

Nobody should even blame him for feeling that way because when you observe the way his worshippers in his prayer ministry worship him, you won’t blame for feeling like a god. It’s really sad.

I remember him telling people to send a warning across to Atiku for not coming in person to his prayer ministry so that he will give him his blessings since he was going for Presidential position in the election, with Obi as his running mate and told Obi that both of them would be disgraced at the election if they didn’t pick a project. I will continue to have deep respect for Peter Obi for standing strong like a rock.

He was actually an equal match for Mbaka on that fateful day, because the more Mbaka pushed him to announce his donation to the teeming crowd, the more firm he stood his ground about not making an announcement. That was the day he called him a stingy man. The Catholic Bishop of Enugu diocese sanctioned him into rendering an apology to Peter Obi, which he grudgingly gave and still publicly admitted that he didn’t mean any word of that apology. It’s terrible.

I believe it is time for the Catholic church to start enforcing laws that will help protect the Catholic faithful. God bless Bishop Onaga for the decision he took concerning Fr Mbaka. May God also protect him at this time that insecurity is ravaging our beloved country and violence is the order of the day. When we were little and growing up, the Catholic church was where we went to for our daily and Sunday devotions.

There was nothing like prayer ministries like we have now in every corner. It was only the Pilgrimage centre at Elele owned by Rev Fr Emmanuel Edeh that most Catholics started attending. Even at that, he was very passionate about gaining souls for Christ. Years later, he started different business ventures and even began to build schools. That’s the new trend.

The moment they begin to turn the business of winning souls for Christ into amassing wealth, they will gradually begin to derail until it gets to a point where pride comes in and they become so unruly and uncontrollable like Fr Mbaka. I’m ashamed as a Catholic.

These Prayer Ministries are distracting these priests. I can only wish that the Holy Catholic Church looks into it and find ways to curb it as it now seems to be a menace. A problematic one at that.

I thank the Catholic Bishop of Enugu diocese for his strongly worded message that distanced the Catholic church from Mbaka’s conduct and utterances. I can’t believe that the whole world is advocating for an Igbo leadership for this country in 2023, but Mbaka has declared that Peter Obi is too stingy to become the president of this country.

He even had the temerity to openly address his thousands of followers on that score, telling them that he merely apologized to Peter Obi because the Bishop asked him to. That was why his followers carried out a protest, threatening to deal with an ordained Bishop. I listened to the tape. These were Fr Mbaka’s words:

‘It was my Bishop, Bishop onaga who forced me to come here and do the apology. I didn’t do it because I wished. It was not my wish. It was not out of my will power. I was compelled. I was coerced. I was forced to. I read that thing under duress because there was no reason for that. I was apologizing against my wish. Against my will power. Against my spirit because he is the one who should have apologized to us. Peter demanded to take the microphone and do campaign for PDP here.

I refused. That is the problem. I didn’t give him microphone to campaign for his party. If you have come for bazaar, name your money and go. Even the Governor of Kano State was here. Ganduje. And other APC and other parties. If you begin to talk about PDP, will I give other people the microphone to talk about their own party? My altar is not a political platform. I’m not a politician and I’m not supporting any party. If I see a good man in any party I can support the person but I don’t support any party.

I’m not a partisan personality. I don’t have any party card. Peter insisted, even when we are starting the Mass in the name of the father son and the holy Spirit. He wanted me to give him the microphone to campaign and then go. I refused, even when he had made us to be late. The Mass should have started by 10am with the Governor of Ebonyi State, Governor Umahi. We waited for Peter Obi.

The governor is still alive. We waited till after 10, to 11, to 12. We were still waiting for Peter Obi, who came late and we started the mass because I said let us wait for him to arrive so that we wouldn’t disrupt the flow of the liturgy. No sooner had he come, then we started the mass and he demanded the microphone should be given to him so that he will do his campaign for his Vice Presidential whatever. For his Vice Presidential rubbish. Now, he’s out of PDP. They couldn’t give him whatever. Now he has joined labour.

From Labour Party, after the child in Labour has been delivered, he will join ante-natal party. There are many parties that are easier to join. He’s a joker. Peter Obi is a joker. Raise your hands to God. If Ndigbo needs a representative, Peter Obi won’t be the person to go. Anambra has personalities. Anambra has good people. Imo has good people. Abia also has very good people, as well as Ebonyi and Enugu. Not Peter.

A stingy man cannot be our president. We are already hungry. We need a generous person. Nigerians are hungry. Are we not hungry? At the end of that bazaar, Peter could not do something for God. Any pastor who is clapping for that stinginess, I pray that people will never give you something again in your church. A pastor who is supporting stinginess, I pray that your members will become stingy. Pastor can you say ‘Amen’ to that? Father Mbaka is not a beggar. I love generous people. I love people who can give because my God is a giver. I love generosity.

I love hospitable people. I don’t like anybody that will put a man of God in trouble.. ‘     I know that his fans will come forth to ask for my head for writing this, but listening to the above utterances is very heartbreaking and really disgusting. It’s sad. This is no way to build the faith of the Catholic faithful. It is no way to show good leadership as an ordained vessel of spreading the Gospel, which should be Mbaka’s primary role in the body of Christ.

Nothing can ever make me leave the Catholic church. What about people whose faiths are not strong? Is his conduct not enough to make such people walk out on Catholicism??? I honestly wish Prayer Ministries by priests are fazed out. It’s my wish. Priests should mind their flock and tend them with compassion and absolute devotion. All these ministries are mostly business ventures. Enough of it! It should stop!!! My Lord Bishop, I hope your reading this…