The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese, Most Rev, Ignatius Ayau Kaigama has called on priests and persons of Consecrated life to be clothed with holiness and make God their rock and refuge. He gave the admonition in his homily at the ordination ceremony of seven new priests of the Missionary Society of St. Paul Society Congregation; held at the National Seminary of St. Paul, Gwagwalada, Abuja; on Saturday, September 12, 2020.
According to the Archbishop, personal inadequacies cannot stop the apostolate of those chosen and anointed by God to lead his people in worship and mission of salvation. Using the readings of the day to assert his point, Archbishop Kaigama used some chosen people of God in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, whom God chose to lead His people noting that: “Those called to work for God always experience and express a feeling of inadequacy”.
He added: “Jesus knew this very well and sent the Apostles to boldly preach the Gospel and encouraged them to endure even when confronted with suffering and hardships. St. Paul who was a keen persecutor of Christians became an ardent preacher of Christ, and going through severe hardships, distinguished himself as the Apostle to the Gentiles”.
Going down memory lane on how the missionaries who brought the faith to the country suffered, under different circumstances, with some dying in the process; yet, they persevered for the Lord. He went on: “These heroes of faith gave their lives by their labour of love and today, we are the fruits of their courageous self-giving love.” He added: “Nigeria today generously sends diocesan and religious missionaries to Europe, America, and other parts of Africa etc. This was in fact what the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria wanted by founding the Missionary Society of St. Paul, which has today over three hundred priests.
Archbishop Kaigama reminded the new priests that they are called to the priesthood at a challenging time in the life of the Church and the world. He noted: “Some individuals and groups, allergic to the Gospel, negatively scrutinize and x-ray the Church, and feeling uneasy with the ideals and values of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, prefer a Church where one is free to do as he or she pleases.”
He stated that for them to fulfil the task given to them by God, they need time “for silence to contemplate Jesus, especially in the Blessed Sacrament; make the Lord God alone their rock and refuge”. Urging them to “unload their worries on the Lord”; the Archbishop declared: “When discouraged, frustrated or feeling weak, look up to Jesus in prayer and He will strengthen you.”
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