Priests have been advised to organize their lives in a way that will make them always available to the people of God, for whom they were ordained.
Rev. Fr. Eustace Nwanekwu, Assistant Parish Priest of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church Emekuku in Owerri-North LGA, gave the charge Wednesday, August 17, 2016 while delivering a homily at the Assumpta Press Chapel Owerri during a Eucharistic celebration to mark the third year priestly anniversary of Owerri Archdiocesan priests, 2013 set.
He described availability as an important quality of a good priest, pointing out that a priest who is always available to hear confessions, attend to sick calls, celebrate Masses will endear himself to his flock and stands to be blessed more than the one who thinks that he has no time for such. “A good shepherd, he emphasized is always going out in search of his sheep” as Christ does”. A good shepherd is always making himself available to the needy, just as the employer in that day’s gospel, who went out several times, even at the 11th hour to engage labourers that had remained idle since morning, said the priest.
Fr. Nwanekwu explained that the reprimand of bad shepherd in that day’s First Reading was not limited to priests but concerns all who are entrusted with people to lead and care for, such as Fathers, Mothers, Guardians, Employers etc.
The homilist called on Christ’s faithful never to lose hope but always rest assured that even when fellow humans had failed them, God is always there for them. He prayed to God to give his colleagues and himself the spirit to be priests after God’s own heart.
In his remarks at the beginning of the Mass, the principal celebrant, Rev. Fr. Isaac Chima, who is also the Deputy Director of Assumpta Press, said that he and his classmates were celebrating a Mass of thanksgiving for God’s abundant blessings to them and their families, for choosing them as priests and being with them for the past three years. They were also praying for the repose of the souls of two of their classmates, Rev. Emmanuel Ephraim Etokudo and Rev. Thomas Okereke and also rejoicing with Rev. Fr. Maxwell Nwoha, present at that occasion, who was celebrating his birthday.
There was group photograph of the priests after the Mass. The priests present were: Frs. Isaac Chima, Emmanuel Unachukwu, Leo Manu, ,Philip Opara, Ambrose Ebumuche, Vitus Unegbu, Eustace Nwanekwu and Dominic Obiako.