Archbishop Andrew Nkea ordained seven new priests for the diocese of Mamfe this morning. This is the first ordination by a metropolitan Archbishop in the entire South West Region.
Cameroon Concord News correspondent in Mamfe, the chief town in Manyu reported that the areas of ministry entrusted to the new priests fall under three general headings, Altar, Word and Charity.
The new clerics will work in parish teams in the diocese of Mamfe. They will join deacons and lay parish pastoral workers in parishes.
“Today is a great day for the Diocese of Mamfe,” said Dr Andrew Nkea.
“It is a great day for this lively diocese, which sees seven of its sons called to the priesthood. This is a great day for the Presbyterium of Mamfe.”
The seven priests ordained are: Paul Ajong, John Etta, Carole Thcinda, Patrick Tabot, Niver Lengue, Peter Atem and Alfred Vetam.
In his homily, Archbishop Andrew Nkea said the priesthood is a gift from God through the bishop.
The hands of the priests will be laid on the candidates but the gesture will be meaningful if and only if those hands are united with the hands of the bishop who is the principal celebrant at every ordination ceremony.
This collaboration with the bishop is depicted at every ordination ceremony when the candidates on making the promise of obedience to the bishop. In the rite, it is only at the moment of the promise of obedience that the candidate kneels before the bishop surrenders his hands between those of the bishop who questions his obedience to him and his legitimate successor.
Such is a spiritual connection based on respect and obedience. Respect and obedience are priestly virtues which enables the bishop to do his duty in overseeing the afford of the diocese whereas obedience enables the priest to collaborate with the bishop in the same ministry.
Between the bishop and his priests, there exists a communio sacramentalis as quoted from Pastres Gregis.
Bishops ordain priests out of love and nothing else. It would therefore be a contradiction in terms for a priest to say his bishop does not love him. Every priest must be ready to see the love of God in his bishop. At no point should a priest think he is better than his bishop irrespective of the talents they display. Illustrating from the Gospel text, the Prelate identifies the strict obedience of the disciples who put out their nets without questioning.
Many young priests get into the priesthood with their own ambitions and if they don’t get them they threaten to leave the priesthood. A bishop can never satisfy all his priests.
Each diocesan Priest has as one of his duties the spiritual care of the presbyterate.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai with files from Rev Father Eboka