The Vice Province of Nigeria celebrated the ordinations of five deacons and five priests on Saturday, 5th July 2015. A large number of confreres, family and friends, priests and religious from different dioceses and congregations came to rejoice with us on this great occasion of Redemptorist celebration.
They came expecting rainfall as in the previous years, but there was no drop. Thanks to auspicious weather, however it was not the same story for the journey of many to Redeemer house Ibadan, ground of the ordination ceremony. Many confreres, families, friends and faithful from our Lagos parishes started the journey on Friday 4th of July. While many managed to arrive that same day after 12 harrowing hours on the road for a trip which normally took 2 hours, some could not make it the same day, succumbing to the traffic gridlock they slept in some “traveller’s inn.” A good number who travelled from Lagos on the day of the ordination left as earlier as 5am yet were late or barely made it. Some just quit the idea of attending the ordination on hearing of the stressful experiences on the way.
Despite this, the turnout was large, the celebration started at 10am with the Archbishop Gabriel ‘Leke Abegunrin of archdiocese of Ibadan as the ordaining prelate. In his homily, he stressed the need for every priest to be authentic witness to the gospel, to shun the lure of “private ministry.” As usual after the celebration, there was plenty to eat and drink and music and gifts for the newly ordained. Almost immediately, the confreres mostly from the Lagos area, hurried back to their stations for the next day Sunday masses. Many who came from far places mostly families stayed back to rest for the next day’s journey–everyone with amazing stories to tell about this journey of faith to the ordination which saw many endure tremendous hardship on the roads in order to be part of this celebration of gift of priesthood! The newly ordained deacons are Rev. Vitus Orji, Rev. Ambrose Unuajawhofia, Rev. Pascal Nwankwo, Rev. Francis Alex Okafor and Rev. Brendan Ugwu. The newly ordained priests are Fr. Kingsley Anoghala, Fr. Johnmary Chiji, Fr. Philip Offor, Fr. Pius Oyeniyi and Fr. Eric Ezirim—bringing the number of ordained priests in the Redemptorist Vice Province of Nigeria to eighty-nine (89).
Author: Fr. Henry Omeike, C.Ss.R