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deacons_2017 Saturday, 16th December, 2017 was another glorious day in the history of the Congregation of Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy as ten of her members were raised to the Order of Diaconate.

The event which took place at the Mater Dei Cathedral Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria was officiated by the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia diocese, Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji.

The solemn Eucharistic Celebration started with the procession at 9:50am. The Bishop welcomed the Superiors General of the Congregation of Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. George M. Okorie, SMMM and the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Congregation Very Rev. Fr. Peter Mouka, MsCC and indeed all who were present for the joyful celebration.

The liturgy of the word
The first reading was taken from the book of Numbers 3:5-9 and the second reading was taken from the Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7. The gospel was taken from the account of Matthew 5:13-16.

The recap of the homily
The Bishop once more welcomed everyone, and thanked all who formed the prospective deacons. He thanked their Parish Priests and the Superiors General of the Congregation of Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy and the Missionary of the Sacred Heart Congregation for presenting them for the Diaconate Ordination. In a most special way, he thanked God for choosing them to be ordained for service as deacons. He emphasized that God does not choose for any human qualities, he chooses in exercise of His freedom; He chooses whom He wishes to. He therefore enjoined the deacons to-be to see their ordination as sacred. He informed them that God has called them for service of the word, service at the altar and ministers of charity.

He charged them to believe, live and preach the word in and out of season. This word is sacred and it brings salvation.

As ministers at the altar, they should be ready to help and assist the Bishops and Priests in the celebration and administration of the sacraments of baptism, communion to the sick, matrimony and blessing of the people through the celebration of benediction. “You are ordained to sanctify God’s people through prayer” he enjoined.

As ministers of charity, you are called to bring the gospel to the sick, the prisoners, the abandoned and the forgotten. You are called to preach the gospel of hope and love to them. And for you to be ministers of charity, he said “you must love God.”

He specified the importance of humility in this ministry of service which they would be ordained into; and as they make the promise of obedience and respect they should understand the implications.

He encouraged them to make themselves available to the Church. The vow of celibacy implies pastoral availability to the mission of the universal Church. Having undergone many years of formation, he noted that they were not conscripted for ordination and therefore should embrace with enthusiasm the call to service as deacons.

Finally, he thanked their parents, other family members, benefactors and benefactresses who supported them. He remarked that incardination into the Church implies automatic excardination from their families.

deacons_2017 Vote of thanks
After the post communion prayers, the Vicar General of Umuahia Diocese Very Rev. Fr. Gabriel Kalu thanked and congratulated the newly ordained deacons for presenting themselves for ordination and their desire to be available for service in the ministry they have received.

He thanked the Bishop on behalf of Umuahia Diocese, Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy Congregation and the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Congregation for ordaining their candidates deacons.

He thanked the religious present and all the faithful especially the parents, relative, friends, benefactors and benefactresses of the newly ordained and implored all to be praying for them because the journey is not yet over.

The mass ended at 12.55pm.

27 were ordained deacons on the 27th Episcopal anniversary of the ordaining prelate, Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji.
8 from the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart
9 from Umuahia Diocese
10 from Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy Congregation
To the glory of God!