The 2021 MSP ordination was presided over by a member of the 4th MSP ordination class. Most Rev. Anselm Umoren, MSP, the Auxiliary Bishop of Abuja Archdiocese, who was ordained a priest on June 18, 1988 performed the ceremony on Saturday, June 19, 2021. Both ordination ceremonies took place at the same venue, the National Missionary Seminary of St Paul Gwagwalada, Abuja. Nine candidates were ordained to the priesthood.
In his homily, Most Rev. Umoren who will be ten years a bishop on February 2, 2022 recalled: “The Missionary Society of Saint Paul is the result of the seed planted in 1977 by our father in faith, Dominic Cardinal Ekandem, and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria. Before our own eyes, we have seen this mustard seed sprout, bring forth branches, and grow into a big tree that is bearing much fruit today in missionary endeavour around the world.”
Addressing directly those to be ordained, Bishop Umoren stated: “Dear brothers: As men called to the life of the religious, you should see in the decisions made for you by your religious superior the will of God himself who directs and leads you, telling you where you should go. When this will of God is communicated to you, your generous response must be one of faithful obedience.”
Finally, the Bishop enjoined the congregation to pray for their priests. “Pray for them that they may be faithful stewards of God’s divine mysteries that they handle daily at the altar.” He also added: “Pray that the Lord will continue to send more labourers into his harvest and that the world may be filled with the knowledge and love of his holy will.”
The newly ordained and their dioceses of pastoral year assignments were: Frs Peter Umoru (Kaduna Archdiocese), Finbarr Onyeakosi (Onitsha Archdiocese), Emmanuel Olofu (Abuja Archdiocese), Fidelis Datau (Abuja Archdiocese) and Lawrence Danladi (Bauchi Diocese). The rest were: Frs Kinsley Onyekwere (Lagos Archdiocese), John Ibanga (Lagos Archdiocese), Peter Udoh (Calabar Archdiocese) and Bruno Ogoke (Nnewi Diocese).
Present at the ordination ceremony were the MSP Superior General, Fr Callistus Isara and some Members of his Council, other priests, religious, associate members as well as family members, friends and sponsors of the newly ordained. During the ceremony, sponsors of the new priests were presented with papal blessings and plaques of appreciation for their generous gestures.
As is the usual MSP custom, the newly ordained priests had their combined thanksgiving Mass in the Seminary Chapel on Sunday June 20, 2021. It was presided over by Fr Peter Udoh while Fr Fidelis Datau was the homilist. Reflecting on the readings of the 12th Sunday of the Year, Fr Datau said: “In our Christian lives, storms will always occur but Jesus will always be with us.” He further exhorted that since God will not abandon his children, we should hope in him, and always pray in good times and bad.
Fr Emmanuel Olofu gave the vote of thanks on behalf of his colleagues who presented a small generator to the seminary for use in the classroom blocks during lectures.
Fr Phyllisbeto Gomez, MSP contributed to this story