News Update

Proper Formation, Requisite for Raising Priests – Bishop Ezeokafor

…Invests 21 Senior Seminarians

By Alexander Johnson Adejoh and Precious Ukeje

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has said that proper formation is a basic requirement for raising priests.

The Catholic prelate said humans were imperfect and needed thorough training through certain vocations to be at par with expectations.

Bishop Ezeokafor made the assertion while delivering a homily at the 2020/2021 Investiture of 21 persons as senior seminarians and Feast Day of the Holy Family Spiritual Year, Nodu, Ọkpụno, Awka South Local Government Area in Anambra State.

Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor handing over soutanes to the newly invested senior seminarians during their investiture, Jan 16, 2021, at Holy Family Spiritual Year Seminary, Okpuno

He charged the seminarians to hold tenaciously to the tenets of their formation to priesthood and give themselves wholly to study as they were factors that would help them sail relatively smoothly to the end.

He beseeched God to help them as they took their first step to giving themselves to the service of God through priesthood.

Speaking to parents, he charged them to provide support where the seminarians needed any, even as he told them to always bear in mind that seminarians were on a journey to primarily serve God and the Church, rather than their families.

‘If anyone here seeks to have their child become a priest so that he or she can depend on him when he becomes a priest, the person has the opportunity to withdraw he child now,’ the Bishop explained.

He warned against pushing children into the vocation against their wish or for selfish purposes, as he recalled some related incidents that occurred when he was still a seminarian.

In a related development, he charged all in attendance to maintain at the highest, safety protocols outlined by health officials to combat the second wave of COVID-19, while noting that the killer disease was real, as it had already claimed the lives of some number of persons.

He noted that it was needful to always wear face masks and use hand sanitizers as prescribed by health professionals, adding that prevention was better that cure.

Contributing, the Rector of the Seminary, Rev. Fr Linus Ibekwe, in an address of welcome, appreciated the lay faithful who were at the event for sparing time to celebrate with the Seminary, and also appreciated the parents of the seminarians, who, he noted, had given up such prized gifts to God.

Fr Ibekwe reiterated that it was needful for the parents of the seminarians to give them all required support and also reminded them that their service when they finally made priesthood was to God and the Church, and not primarily to their families.

The seminarians for their part, in an address, appreciated the Bishop for what they described as his undaunted love and support for them.

They also appreciated their formators and parents who attended the event.

Lay faithful, parents, friends and well-wishers of the seminarians all attended the Investiture/Feast Day event.