Three new priests were ordained for the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, North West Nigeria on Friday, a mark of increase in the vocation of priesthood in the Diocese whose area of coverage span four largely rural states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Katsina.
In a homily at the Eucharistic celebration for the elevation of the three deacons to the priestly order, the ordaining prelate, Most Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah said the ordination of priests is made possible partly by the contribution of the Catholic through honest appraisal of the candidates.
He said priests are ordained to serve the people and they should not limit their loyalty to any group of persons or communities. It is the reason he told priests to go to wherever they are sent to work, adding: “Any priest who judges his mission by where he is sent to, by what comfort is available to him, by what opportunities for self-enrichment are available is a self-employed opportunistic charlatan and fortune seeker and has no place in the vineyard. Very soon, he will be exposed and will fall by the way side or slay himself by his own sword. We have all been called by the master of the vineyard. We must count ourselves most favoured. The master who has sent us is waiting and every assignment we get, no matter what we think is the motive of the Bishop must be taken as the Master’s wish“.
The Bishop was emphatic on some issues, going by the conduct of some priests in many parts of the world who try to prove that they know better than the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. He said:
“In the course of the ceremony, you will receive the tools of your trade, to use a worn out expression. The efficacy and efficiency of these tools depends on how you preserve, polish and care for them. The Word of God will be entrusted to you. The Chalice and Ciborium will be entrusted into your hands. You will place your hands in the hands of the Bishop and promise Obedience. You will be told that your life and ministry centre around the respect, the awe and the aura which you build around the sacraments. As you were told at your baptism, a light has been entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly to the end. Do not succumb to hostile weather elements outside. Protect the trust that Jesus has given to you. Defend the faith and protect His Church. Do not waste your energy in the wild goose chase. The priesthood has not competitor. It is not an appointment. It is not a place to work for promotion of self. There are not rewards except the glory of God’s name”.