By Donald Ugwu
Ukana community in the Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State came alive on Sunday with a reception in honour of two new priests, ordained by Bishop Calistus Onaga.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ukana is home to the first consecrated Catholic Church in the Enugu Catholic Diocese.
The two priests, Rev. kizito Anidiobi, and Rev. Fr. Charles Aneke, bring to 12, the number of priests produced by the town since 1971, when its first indigenous priest Rev. Augustine Akubue, was ordained.
Anidiobi and Aneke, who hail from the same Amezi village in Ukana, were ordained the same day and passed through more than 11 years of training.
They were among 26 priests, ordained on Dec. 19 in the diocese.
The reception for the young clerics began with a thanksgiving mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ukana, where Prof. Sylvanus Nnoruka, the Registrar of Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, told Christians not to relent in prayers for themselves and the nation.
Nnoruka, who is also a lecturer in seminary, called for fervent prayers for the ordained, to enable them to perform the new roles entrusted upon them by God.
“Priests are sacred vessels dedicated to God’s service.
“From the ordination, they have been dedicated to God to work with Him all the days of their lives.
“This is not an indication that they are the most endowed or blessed by God but the unique thing is that God has selected them.
“Through so many years of training they have been “cut” and “chissled” into shape to carry out their spiritual works without fear as ministers of God.”
Nnoruka said that the rule to succeed in the calling was through prayer.
“I, therefore, enjoin you to pray with them and for them because it is through prayers that God directs our work,” he said.
In a remark, Akubue, recalled how the priesthood was enshrined in Ukana in 1971 and yielded 12 priests, noting that the calling was intellectually challenging, morally demanding and spiritually consuming.
The don hailed the community for rallying behind their priests, assuring that the priests would continue to be worthy ambassadors.
He advised the people to be more united and to forge better understanding among themselves to develop the town.
He, however, expressed his disappointment on the lack of focus among the indigenes to develop the town, calling on them to energise progress in the town through the age grade system.
The cleric charged the faithful to beware of those posing as men of God and deceiving the children of God.
He told Ukana people not to succumb to the blackmail of people, alleging that a river in the community was the cause of their problems, nothing that “our problems are caused by us and not our ancestors.
“There are many fake men of God in this town, who are recycling ignorance. Do not fall for their evil and be a victim.”
The Chairman of the planning committee for the reception, Mr Chris Amalu, on behalf of the community, handed over two Toyota Corolla cars to the priests to support their ministerial assignments.