The Catholic priesthood is a noble and precious gift. A gift from God to the Church and to humanity. Hence St. John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests asserts: “The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus. When you see a priest, think of our Lord Jesus Christ.” St. Francis de Sales who is renowned for his holiness of life and for his teaching helps us to see and appreciate the nobility of this wondrous gift when he exhorts: “O my child, bethink you that just as the bee, having gathered heaven’s dew and earth’s sweetest juices from amid the flowers, carries it to her hive; so the Priest, having taken the Saviour, God’s Own Son, Who came down from Heaven, the Son of Mary, Who sprang up as earth’s choicest flower, from the Altar, feeds you with that Bread of Sweetness and of all delight.”
In thanksgiving to God for granting His Lordship, Most Rev. Donatus Ogun, Bishop of Uromi Diocese a share in the priesthood of Christ and for His sustaining graces in his life, the faithful of Uromi Diocese gathered around our Chief shepherd in celebration as he marked his 26th Priestly Ordination anniversary. It was on Wednesday, 31st July 2019. The quiet but very significant celebration took place at the Bishop’s residence in the early hours of this special day which will forever be treasured. With the presence of representatives of the Clergy (the Vicar General of Uromi Diocese, Very Rev. Fr. Francis Omonlumen and many other priests), Consecrated Persons and the Lay faithful at the thanksgiving Mass, we can say that the entire Diocese was present at the celebration. The President of Uromi Diocesan Laity Council, Hon. Joseph Abhulimen, the President of Uromi Diocesan Catholic Men Organisation of Nigeria, Mr. S.A. Ukhurebor, the President of Uromi Diocesan Catholic Women Organisation of Nigeria, Mrs. Philo Omeike, the newly-elected President of Uromi Diocesan Young Catholic Men Organisation, Mr. Andrew Uwangue, and his Secretary, Mr. George Onwumere, the President of Uromi Diocesan Young Catholic Women Organisation, Mrs. Eunice Udin and her Secretary, Mrs. Cynthia Onwumere were all in attendance.
Rev. Fr. Julius Ekoh in his very brief but well prepared homily recalled that the priesthood is a participation in the life of Christ. It configures the priest to the person of Christ. In the light of the readings of the day, he likened the priesthood as that treasure which a man found, treasure for which he sold all that he had inorder to buy the land where it was hidden. The priest, like Moses, climbs the mountain every day to seek the face of God and to intercede for God’s people.
In his remarks, the Bishop appreciated and prayed for his formators both living and dead, His Lordship, Most Rev. Anthony Okonkwo Gbuji, Bishop Emeritus of Enugu Diocese who ordained him, his brothers in formation, all the people who taught and continue to teach him to be a priest while serving them, and the Clergy, Consecrated Persons and Lay Faithful of Uromi Diocese who are very dear to his heart. The members of the Bishop’s household who put the celebration together were acknowledged.
May God grant our Lord Bishop many more fruitful and fulfilling years.
Ad multos annos!