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Priestly Ordinations 2013
Warri, Nigeria, April 13th 2013
Rev Emmanuel Obi was ordained a priest on Saturday 13th April in Warri Cathedral in Nigeria. He is the second young man to be ordained a priest for St Patrick's Missionary Society this year. His classmate Patrick Esekon was ordained at Turkwell in Turkana in Kenya on March 16th. You can read about that day here.
Pictured here immediately after the celebration are, from left to right, Fr Pat Murphy, from Kerry, who is the Regional Leader of St Patrick's in West Africa; Bishop Hyacinth Egbebo MSP, the Vicar Apostolic of Bomadi, Bishop John 'Oke Afareha, who ordained Emmanuel; and the new Fr Emmanuel Obi. Between Emmanuel and the Bishop can be seen Fr Gabriel Ukhurebor who was ordained in 2009. Fr Gabriel is now based in Nigeria where he is Director of Promotion for St Patrick's. He works closely with the Friends of St Patrick's who are so important for their generosity and enthusiasm in supporting the work of St Patrick's Missionary Society.

The newly ordained Fr Emmanuel poses for a photo with Friends of St Patrick who travelled to Warri to join him on this great day of celebration.

Emmanuel was born in Ibrede in Delta State in the Diocese of Warri. The early missionaries in the area were the Irish SMA Fathers. St Patrick’s Father Edmund Fitzgibbon became Bishop of Warri in 1991. Emmanuel was ordained by the present bishop, His Lordship John ‘Oke Afareha, in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Emmanuel is the first member of the Society from Warri Diocese to be ordained. Also participating in the ordination was Bishop Hyacinth Egbebo, the Vicar Apostolic of Bomadi, which split off from the Diocese of Warri. Bishop Hyacinth is a member of the Missionary Society of St Paul and is a great friend of St Patrick’s. St Patrick’s Fathers have worked in Bomadi since 1991 when the territory was established, with Fr Tommy Greenan as the first Superior.
At the beginning of the Ordination Mass, Emmanuel sits, dressed as a deacon, and listens to the readings of the Liturgy of the Word.

After this Emmanuel is called by name and answers 'Present'. He is then formally accepted for ordination by the Bishop, on the recommendation of those who have trained him.

During the homily the ordaining bishop addresses him directly on the duties of priesthood.
Before the actual celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Orders there is a moment of great solemnity. Emmanuel is seen prostrated before the altar while all the congregation join in the singing of the Litany of the Saints, calling upon their prayers on behalf of Emmanuel.

There are many African saints, some of whom are the Ugandan Martyrs, including Kizito, Charles Lwanga and Matthias Mulumba; Josephine Bakhita from Sudan;Blessed Isidore Bakanja from Congo and of course Blessed Cyprian Tansi from Nigeria.
The central element of the ordination is the invocation of the Holy Spirit and then the laying on of hands by the ordaining bishop. All ordained ministers present, representing the community of the priesthood then in turn lay their hands on Emmanuel, praying silently for him.

In the picture on the left, St Patrick's priest Fr Sean Cullen is seen laying hands on Emmanuel. Fr Sean, from Wexford in Ireland, has been in Nigeria since 1962. He is now based in Abuja, having also worked in Lagos and Abakaliki Dioceses. He has been involved in mission promotion in Nigeria and was also involved in the setting up of our facilities there for training of students.
In the image on the right Fr Emmanuel Likoko lays his hands in prayer on the head of Emmanuel. Likoko comes from Naivasha in Kenya and was ordained in 2007. Since then he has worked in Nigeria, and is now in the parish of Miya in Bauchi State in the north of Nigeria. Fr Emmanuel Edet from Nigeria works there with him.

Also in the Diocese of Bauchi are Frs Emmanuel Ihwo, from Nigeria and Emmanuel Sunkutu from Zambia. They work in the parish of All Saints, in Bauchi Town, with Fr Oliver Leavy.

Fr Leo Traynor is nearby, also in Bauchi town, working on the SELL programme, working towards community building in this troubled area.

After the Mass, newly ordained Fr Emmanuel greets family and friends as he is escorted to the reception.


The formality of the Ordination Ceremony over, Emmanuel has time to join in the celebratory dancing.

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