The Catholic Diocese of Arua celebrated the ordination of seven Priests and eleven Deacons. The ordination was presided over by Arua Diocese Bishop, Rt.Rev.Sabino Ocan Odoki on the 29th of July 2023 at Sacred Heart of Jesus Ediofe Cathedral, Arua City.
In his homily, Bishop Sabino Ocan Odoki delivered a message of encouragement to the newly ordained, urging them to collaborate with their Bishop in personifying Christ through their ministerial priesthood.
He reminded the ordained of the sacred and weighty responsibility they were about to undertake, while urging the faithful to actively support them in their solemn pledge to dutifully serve at the altar of the Lord.
He urged the ordained priests to embrace priesthood as an enduring commitment, not to be donned one day and discarded the next.
"This is a permanent decision you are making. If any lingering doubts persist, do not hesitate to seek clarity. You are being called to a noble vocation. To be a priest, is to be set apart for God and for the people. After the ordination, you shall be transformed, becoming a representative of Christ, the supreme head of the Church. Together with the Bishop, you shall carry out the divine mission of leading the Church as one unified body under Christ's guidance. Before coming here, you took a momentous step, a profession of faith, solemnly vowing to teach nothing but the doctrines of Christ. You also made a solemn oath to foster unity within the Church. Let us pray for you that you may faithfully uphold these solemn pledges, for failing to honor an oath is to invite punishment. Allow me to extend my heartfelt congratulations for the commitments you made prior to this ordination," the Bishop expressed.
The Bishop asked the newly ordained to protect themselves against the temptations that might assail them, and to refrain from misleading their
congregants with false hope.
"Guard against offering false hope to the faithful, as some priests have done, promising that which they cannot fulfill. Instead, assure them that you shall nourish their spirits with the Word of God, ensuring unity and genuine guidance. Also, sometimes, the burdens placed upon priests can be overwhelming, preventing them from fulfilling their sacred duties. Therefore, it is upon the faithful to support and uplift the priests in their service," Said the Bishop.
Bishop Sabino urged the priests to embrace their vulnerabilities, and called upon the congregation to provide support to these fallible shepherds.
"We should know also that we are weak , that we are fragile, we need to also take care of our weakness not to destroy the faith of others. The letter to the Hebrews is reminding us that we ourselves are weak and must also repent for our sins. And also, to the faithful, Instead of thinking that priests do not sin, let us help priests not to sin, don't become an occasion to sin. Sometimes when we come to you, what you do may not help the weak priest, you start to offer alcohol, then a priest starts to feel very comfortable, and forgets about the other things , food comes and then drinks again , at the end, the priest cannot do his work. Help us," the Bishop implored.