The joy of the resurrection of Jesus Christ which we celebrate in a unique way during the octave of Easter was doubled for the six young men who were ordained deacons by his Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Donatus Ogun (OSA) the Bishop of Uromi diocese, at St. Theresa of the child Jesus Catholic Church, Ukoni, Uromi on Thursday April 20, 2017. Five out of the six new deacons were ordained for the diocese of Uromi. They are: Rev. Francis Abubokhale (St. Denis Parish, Ugboha); Rev Paulinus Esene (St. Gregory the Great Parish, Ekpoma) Rev. Christopher Odijie (St. Mary’s Parish, Iruekpen), Rev. Emmanuel Isuogu (Annunciation Parish, Irrua) and Rev. Benedict Isiraojie (Holy Trinity Parish, Ewu). The Sixth deacon, Rev. Domingo Isidore Udoh was ordained for the Society of our Mother of Peace.
Present at the Church to share in the Joy of this deaconate ordination were priests, consecrated persons, family members and friends of the newly ordained deacons as well as the parishes and religious family of those who were ordained. At the beginning of the Mass the host Parish priest, Rev. Fr. Andrew Ogbenbe welcomed his Lordship, Priests, Consecrated persons as well as all other persons who were present at the church for the ordination.
The rite of ordination began after the proclamation of the gospel with the calling of the candidates to be ordained deacons. This was done by Rev. Fr. Ernest Aburime, the Assistant vocations Director of the diocese of Uromi. Having responded to this call, they were then presented by the Vocations Director of the diocese of Uromi, Rev. Fr Jude Otaigbe to the Bishop in the name of Mother Church who asks that the men presented before the bishop, be ordained “for service as deacons”. With the election of these candidates by the Bishop who, relying “on the help of the Lord God and our savior Jesus Christ”, chose the men presented before him for the order of deacons and the consent of the people for whose service those men were to be ordained, the ordination ceremony then continued with the homily which was delivered by the Bishop.The Bishop remarked that the occasion of the ordination is a day of thanksgiving for the parents of the six young men who were to be ordained deacons, their parishes, the priests who preached the word of God to them and those who have accompanied, taught and inspired them all through their years of training.
Before the candidates were examined to ascertain their readiness to assume the duties and obligations of the order of deacons, the Bishop instructed them about the office of deacon and the meaning and importance of celibacy in the church. They were instructed to serve God and mankind in love and Joy and also to look upon all unchastity and avarice as worship of false gods; for no man can serve two masters.
During the examination of the candidates they all responded that they were willing to be ordained for the church’s ministry which entails assisting the bishop and the priests in the service of God’s people, proclaiming the faith in word and action and celebrating faithfully the liturgy of the hours for the church and for the whole world.
Following the examination of the candidates was the promise of respect and obedience to the Bishop and to his successors. The Bishop then invited everyone to prayer that the “all powerful father will pour out his blessing on these servants of his, whom he receives into the holy order of deacons”, the litany of the saints was then prayed. At the end of this special invocation the Bishop laid hands on the ordained and then said the prayer of consecration. With these solemn rites, the six young men were ordained deacons for the service of the people of God. They were then invested with stole and Dalmatic. Having been vested as Deacons, the newly ordained were then presented with the book of the Gospel by the Bishop while he said: “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you preach.” The holy Mass then continued in the usual way after the kiss of peace which the Bishop gave to the new deacons. Shortly before final blessing, the chancellor of the diocese, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Hilary Oseabulu Odenore gave the vote of thanks. He congratulated his Lordship and the Superior of the society of our Mother of peace for the newly ordained deacons whom the Lord has sent as collaborators in his vineyard. He thanked the parents and formators of the newly ordained for their generosity in offering their sons for service in the church and for the work of formation they carry out. He did not fail to thank all those who assisted the newly ordained deacons in various ways: the Members of the vocations commission, the ordination and profession commission, GATES the priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful. He equally thanked the host parish priest, his assistant and the entire parishioners of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus parish, Ukoni. All liturgical functionaries were equally appreciated for making the celebration a success through their respective services. All who were present at the ordination were equally appreciated for finding time to grace the occasion with their presence.
By Edith Mary Izibili and L. Elomien