Catholic Bishop Urges Catholic Faithful to Be Zealous In Evangelism
By Francis Sadhere/Stella Peredu
Catholic Bishop of Warri Diocese, Most Reverend John O. Afereha has urged all catholic faithful to zealously engage themselves in evangelism, saying that the time has come for them to win converts into the catholic faith as the whole world is sinking deeper into sin.
Bishop Afereha stated this yesterday at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Headquarters of Warri Catholic Diocese during the ordination of five Catholic priests to further enhance the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Afereha, who ordained the five priests at the colourful ceremony, said he was happy that the day of the ordination of the priests corresponds with the day that Pope Benedict called on Catholic faithful to zealously preach the gospel.
Speaking during his homely, Bishop Afereha said; “ I am happy that today January 28 is the day Pope Benedict reminded all Catholic faithful that the time in which we live demand a new missionary mission to address the dwindling faith in the missionary work. This is the time when authentic witnesses to Christ are needed. May all those who defend the faith with vigorous outlook, passionately partake in the evangelical work.”
He added that the moment was a happy moment for him because of the addition of new priests to the church and to the edification of the Holy mother church. He reminded them the evangelical mission is enormous but added that God will see them through it all.
He also reminded the newly ordained priests that most of the people that started the journey with them were no longer with them, urging them not to forget the many crossroads they have passed before they got to their present positions.
He also urged the newly ordained priests to hold on tenaciously to the priestly ordination that they have committed themselves to for life, saying that God has chosen them for a special work.
He advised them to be ready to leave everything behind and follow Jesus Christ, adding that Christ will help them succeed in the tortuous journey they have embarked on
The Bishop of Warri Catholic Diocese also told the congregation that gathered to witness the happy moment, that the essence of the priesthood is to enable the priests call on God’s name from the alter and that they are also saddled with the power to forgive sins and teach as official representation of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Afereha said; “I want you to take note that though a priest lives in the community and is taken from the community, he does not derives his powers from the community. The priest is the representative of Christ and a servant of the Church. I want to advise the priests to live according to their ordination.
“I want to challenge the newly ordained priests not to be evangelically poor while carrying out their duty. You must be ready to obey Christ even unto death. The priest must embrace celibacy through prayer to enable him go through the tortuous journey and to remain chaste.”
He urged all the newly ordained priest to remember their priestly vow and remain celibates so that they can give the people what they deserve, stressing that a priest must be a man of prayer and be faithful in prayer so as to surmount all challenges.
“The priest must apply their energy to the teaching of Christ and meditate on the word of God. He must live according to what he preached,” Bishop Afereha added.
He urged family members and friends of the newly ordained priests to engage in sharing the good news of life, adding that they should share the suffering with the ordained priests because they will not always be there for their families so that they can carry out the work of God.
He reminded the congregation that the salvation they seek is in the hands of the priest through the many roles they are playing in ministering to God.
He prayed to God to renew the holiness of the priests which God has chosen them to do.
Bishop Afareha said that a priest is what his Eucharistic life is, adding that devotion is necessary for their survival.
While saying that priests are not masters of the doctrine they preach, Bishop Afereha warned the newly ordained priest not too adulterated the doctrine, praying that the ministry of the ordained should bare fruits that will remain and abide in the truth.