Most Rev. Isaac Bundepuun-Dugu, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Katsina-Ala, Benue State, has called on Catholic priests to shun materialism and focus more on winning souls for God.
The bishop made the call on Saturday in Lafia, Nasarawa State, while saying his homily at a mass to mark the 25th priestly anniversary of Rev. Fr. Gabriel Ngbea.
Fr. Ngbea, a professor who was ordained on August 15, 1998, is the priest in charge of St. Augustine Catholic Church, Ombi 1, Isa Mustapha Agwai 1 Polytechnic, Lafia Nasarawa State.
He explained that religious leaders must rise to their responsibilities to tackle the menace of getting rich by all means and ravaging the country.
He said that clergy are conscious of society and must be role models that lead an exemplary life.
He added that the church should deliberately reorient the youth to address the alarming rate of social vices and crimes in the country.
He also reminded them that a priest is not said to be successful because of material things, academic qualifications, stubbornness, or arrogance.
“A successful priest should be dedicated, humble, leave a life of service to God and humanity, and above all, strive towards winning more souls for God,” he added.
On his part, David Ajang, Catholic Bishop of Lafia Diocese, congratulated the celebrant for joining the league of elders among priests in the church.
Bishop Ajang explained that only 17 priests celebrated their silver jubilee out of the 105 Catholic priests in Lafia Diocese.
The bishop added that there was more responsibility attached to being an elder among the priests in the church.
“You should be careful in what you do and say because younger priests are looking up to you as a role model.
“You must be a guide and assist others to avoid the same mistakes you made when you were a younger priest.
“The church must set a good example because role models that are disciplined, sincere, accountable, and always stand by what is right are what are lacking in society today,” Ajang added.
On his part, Fr. Gabriel Ngbea, the celebrant, expressed gratitude to God for seeing him thus far in service to him and humanity and also thanked his parents, siblings, and all those who played roles in his life.
Ngbea, therefore, promised to dedicate the rest of his life to continuing to win souls for God and serve humanity.
On the occasion, Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State was represented by his deputy, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, and Hyacinth Alia, Gov. of Benue State, Goerge Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Others were present, including former government officials from Nasarawa and Benue States, Catholic priests within and outside the country, as well as friends and family members of the celebrant.
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