The new priests- Rev Fr Solomon Ikedinachukwu Anyaorah (6th from left, front row) and Rev Fr Arinze Clinton Okonkwo, SMMM (7th from left) pose with concelebrants and reverend sisters after the thanksgiving Mass. Fifth from left is the homilist, Rev Fr Longinus Egbeonu.
Two new priests were in July 2017 added to the number of Ibughubu, Umuchu indigenous Catholic priests, bringing the total to nine.
The new priests, Rev Fr Solomon Ikedinachukwu Anyaorah, who was ordained for Awka Catholic Diocese by Most Rev Dr Paulinus Ezeokafor and Rev Fr Arinze Clinton Okonkwo, SMMM, who was ordained for the Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy, celebrated their solemn thanksgiving Mass at their home parish, St Patrick's Catholic Parish, Igbughubu, Umuchu, Aguata L.G.A, Anambra State on Sunday, July 30, 2017.
Leading in the thanksgiving Mass, Rev Fr Arinze Clinton Okonkwo, SMMM, thanked God who called them into the sacred priesthood of Jesus Christ, and appreciated all who supported them throughout their formative years.
In his homily, an Ibughubu Umuchu indigenous priest, Rev Fr Longinus Egbeonu, thanked God for the gift of priestly and religious vocation which He gave to Igbughubu Umuchu in particular and Anambra State in general, saying that out of the 23 new priests who were ordained at Umuahia on July 22, 2017, 19 were from Anambra State.
Drawing from the readings of the Sunday, Rev Fr Egbeonu, who is the parish priest of St Anthony's Catholic Parish, Okpo, Ekwulobia, exhorted all against selfish lifestyle, but like Christians called to be another Christ, think of the good of others, saying that people were created for the wellbeing of each other.
Basing his reflections further on t how Peter and Matthew abandoned everything and followed Jesus Christ when He called them, the homilist noted that there was joy in encountering Christ.
Rev Fr Egbeonu charged the new priests to attach timely importance to their priestly vocation, live up to the demands of their sacred priesthood of Christ which they were called into and make themselves available to the people of God who were entrusted unto their care.
'Pray always and keep God first in all that you do. Stand out as worthy ambassadors of the Church and the people of God. Share in the joys and sorrows of the people of God you were chosen from, pray for the people of God and for peace in our town, Umuchu', Fr Egbeonu urged the new priests.
He reminded the lay faithful of their responsibilities to pray for and support their priests for their fulfilled priestly apostolate. This was even as he chided family members against abandoning the family responsibilities to the priests, but to accept the ordination of the priests as added responsibility for them (family members).
In his remarks, the parish priest of St Patrick's Catholic Parish, Ibughubu Umuchu, Rev Fr Lawrence Maduagwu, thanked God for sustaining priestly and religious vocation in the community. He prayed God to bless the new priests with fruitful and fulfilled apostolate.
St Patrick's Catholic Community, Ibughubu, Umuchu through the address of welcome that was signed by the parish priest, Rev Fr Lawrence Maduagwu; the Chairman of Ordination Committee, Mr. Emeka Anyaora and the ordination committee secretary, Mr. Emeka Enemuo, urged the new priests to guard jealously the sacred priesthood of Jesus Christ which they represented.
'That you are priests today don't mean that you have reached the Promised Land, but the journey has just started. You know what it took you to be called into the sacred priesthood of Christ, you must guard it jealously. No one should come between you and your call as a priest of God. We advise you to emulate your older brother priests who have distinguished themselves in the priesthood, and consult them when necessary', the address read.
Presentation of gifts to the new priests by the parish pastoral council, groups, families and individuals of the parish were part of the highlights of the event.