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The Vocation to the Priestly Ministry

The Vocation to the Priestly Ministry

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Published by: Gabriel Amobi on Apr 02, 2012
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By Gabriel Amobi and Michael Nwobodo

Although all the baptized share in the priesthood of Christ, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood “differ essentially and not only in degree.”1 Without the ministerial priesthood “the Church would not be able to live that fundamental obedience which is at the very heart of her existence and her mission in history….” 2 Priests, while being taken from amongst men and appointed for men in the things that appertain to God that they may offer gifts and sacrifices for sins (cf. Heb. 5:1), live with the rest of men as with brothers. “Their very ministry makes a special claim on them not to conform themselves to this world; still it requires at the same time that they should live among men in this world….”3 But the recent times have witnessed not a few number of priests who feel the need to sanctify worldly activities by exercising them directly and bring the leaven of the Gospel into the midst of events. In fact, as the Synod Fathers have remarked, “many activities which in the past were reserved to priests…are today quite frequently carried out by lay people, while on the other hand many priests…are trying to involve themselves in the condition of life of lay persons.”4 Hence, a number of questions are being asked: “Does the priestly ministry have any specific nature? Is this ministry necessary? Is the priesthood incapable of being lost? What does being a priest mean today?”5 This state of affairs has exerted severe consequences on the priestly ministry in the contemporary times. Foremost among them is that the priestly ministry is unfortunately been reduced to a career or an occupation. Consequently, this write-up begins by clarifying the original meaning of vocation as a concept in contradistinction to an occupation or a career; then, it re-examines the priestly ministry as a unique vocation, distinct from the common vocation of love and holiness of every Christian (cf. CCC 2392). From here, it discusses some of the challenges which the vocation to the priestly ministry encounters continually in the contemporary African society, while proffering apposite recommendations.

Vocation: Meaning and Nature
The state of the word, vocation, today is a good instance of the secularization of meaning. Vocation, whose operation was formerly located in the religious sphere, has now been thrown out widely into the secular sphere. Thus, thanks to this secularization, vocation is currently confused with concepts like occupation, career and profession. Given this state of affairs, any veritable study of the vocation to the priestly ministry ought to be prefaced with a clarification of the varied hue of meanings that surround the word, vocation. Etymologically, vocation comes from the Latin vocatio, whose root-word is vocare, meaning to call or to follow a voice. A vocation is “a divine call or election, of a revelatory character, addressed to religious gifted or charismatic personalities.”6 It originally meant “a calling to a particular task in life. This meaning is still current in relation to those who are called to religious life or to those who feel „an imperious inclination‟ to devote themselves to a social need.”7 In this light, The Harper Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism defined vocation as “the inclination toward a particular state of life that the Christian accepts as a call from God.”8 But Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary gives three senses in which vocation is used: “a call, summons, or impulsion to perform a certain function or enter a certain career, especially a religious one; the function or career toward which one believes himself to be called; any trade, profession, or occupation.”9 Another authority, also, surprisingly, submits that a vocation is “a term for an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which they are suited, trained or qualified. 10 One can, no doubt, question whether vocation and career are interchangeable; if not, then, why are the two misconstrued today? This misinterpretation no doubt originated from the two senses in which vocation operates: general and particular. In general, the term refers to the call of Christ, offered to all the baptized, to follow him and to become signs and witnesses of the reign of God. In this sense, all Christians share a common vocation. The word, however, also has a particular meaning. It refers to a specific state of life to which believers understand that God is calling them. Some people are inclined, by God‟s grace, to follow Christ in the marital life, or in the religious or priestly life. Martin Luther and John Calvin, understanding vocation only in its narrow sense, placed a particular emphasis on vocations, or divine callings, as potentially including most secular occupations.11 It is obviously from this Protestant slant that vocation down the ages came to be misconstrued with a career or an occupation. The idea of vocation is central to the Christian belief that God has created each person with gifts and talents oriented toward specific purposes and a way of life. In the broadest

sense, as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being”12 (CCC 2392). More specifically, in the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, this idea of vocation is especially associated with a divine call to service to the Church and humanity through particular vocational life commitments such as marriage to a particular person, consecration as a religious, ordination to priestly ministry in the Church and even a holy life as a single person. In the broader sense, Christian vocation includes the use of one's gifts in their profession, family life, church and civic commitments for the sake of the greater common good. Having examined the various dynamics of vocations, the priesthood will now be examined as a unique vocation, as a vocation par excellence.

The Priesthood as a Vocation Sui Generis
The priesthood is a calling or a life, not simply one occupation among many that a man might choose. Pope Benedict XVI has often stated emphatically that the priesthood is not a
profession, to be engaged in part-time, but a full-time and perpetual vocation. He added that “this being with Christ and being an ambassador of Christ, this being for others is a mission that penetrates our being and must penetrate ever more the totality of our being.”13 This means that the priest has

been called by God and given the gift of God, that is, the grace to accomplish his work. Since it is the divine grace that elevates a man, through the laying-on-of hands, to be a priest, it is clear that the priesthood is unlike any other vocation open to men. In a very important sense, the priesthood unites all of the callings to which man may respond and cannot be thought of as just one of them.14 Like the Apostles, Jesus calls the priest to be with him first, in order to be sent
out to preach. “Although „being with Jesus‟ and „being sent forth‟ are inseparable, the former precedes the latter.”15

All these establish that the true meaning of the ordained ministry in the Church is a religious vocation and, therefore, is different from a career or a profession or an occupation. A career is commonly understood as “a specialization a person enters into mostly because it is lucrative.”16 One chooses one‟s career but one is called by God to the priestly vocation. What matters in a career is one‟s potentials and capabilities, but what matters in a vocation is the communion with the one who calls – God. The choice of a career is aimed at selfactualization, success and achievement, but the aim of the priestly vocation is service, selfsacrifice and self-transcendence. Furthermore, a career is external to a person and usually is merely a means of securing a living, but the priestly vocation lays claim to the whole of the person‟s existence, it envelopes the whole being of the person called. Therefore, the

priesthood is not simply one career or occupation among many. “It is a way of life by which Christ invites a man to enter more deeply into relationship with God for the service of God‟s people.”17

The Theology of the Priesthood
The foregoing fact about the uniqueness of the vocation to the Catholic priesthood shines out very brilliantly under the light of the theology of the priesthood. The Catholic priesthood is densely Christological for ministerial priests of the New Testament share in a unique way in the priesthood of Christ.18 But as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews explains, Jesus‟ priesthood must be understood in light of the Old Testament. The patriarchs, as heads of families or tribal groups, performed priestly functions, such as offering sacrifices (Gen. 22:2; 31:54). Eventually, a specific office of priesthood evolved and a priestly professionalism developed especially in the tribe of Levi (thus, the Levitical priesthood).19 The earliest Christian community contained a variety of ministries, but nowhere in the New Testament is the Greek word for priest (hiereus) applied to someone who holds an office in the Church. Where it is used for an individual, as in the Epistle to the Hebrews, it is applied only to Christ.20 Nevertheless, before the end of the first century, Christian writers likened Jesus‟ death on the cross to a priestly sacrifice and by the middle of the third century those who presided over Eucharistic worship were beginning to be perceived as priestly ministers. This identification of ministry and priesthood eventually grew so strong in the patristic and medieval periods that almost all those engaged in the official Church ministers had to be ordained as priests.21 Having established that the essential nature of the ministerial priesthood of the New Covenant lies in its Christological character, a viable theology of the priesthood can only be gleaned from Christ‟s creation of the new figure of the Twelve, which after the Resurrection then passes over into the office of the apostles. This, in turn, passes over to their successors down the ages. Jesus confers his powers upon the apostles and thereby makes their office strictly parallel to his own mission: “He who receives you receives me,” (Mtt. 10:40; cf. Lk. 10: 16; Jn. 13:20). For its part, the Fourth Gospel goes on to affirm this with great force and clarity: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (Jn. 20:21; cf. 13:20; 17:18). The foregoing allows one to understand the significance of the following parallelism:  The Son can do nothing of himself (Jn. 5:19, 30)  Without me you can do nothing (Jn. 15:5).

According to Ratzinger, “this „nothing‟ that the disciples share with Jesus expresses at once the power and the impotence of the apostolic office. On their own, by the force of their own understanding, knowledge and will, they cannot do anything they are meant to do as apostles.”22 How could they possibly say “I forgive you your sins”? How could they conceivably say “This is my body”? Nothing that makes up the activity of the apostles is the product of their own capabilities. But it is precisely in having “nothing” to call their own that their communion with Jesus consist. From here, Ratzinger submits didactically, “ordination is not about the development of one‟s own powers and gifts…it is not a question of a job in which someone secures his own livelihood by his own abilities, perhaps in order to rise later to something better.” Rather it means, “I give what I myself cannot give; I do something that is not my work; I am on a mission and have become the bearer of that which another has committed to my charge.”23 Hence, “the sign and presupposition of the authenticity and fruitfulness of this mission is the Apostles‟ unity with Jesus….”24 The above exposition, which demonstrates the ministerial priesthood as a close following of Christ, outrightly rejects the reduction of the priesthood to a career. Yet, located in the midst of the world, the priesthood cannot be totally inoculated from the vagaries and vicissitudes of earthly existence. Just as the Council Fathers echoes it, “the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the men of our time…are the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well.”25 Thus, the next section treats the challenges to the priestly vocation in the contemporary African society.

The Challenges to the Priestly Ministry in Contemporary African Society
The Letter to the Hebrews clearly affirms the “human character” of the priest: he comes from the human community and acts on behalf of men in relation to God (cf. Heb. 5:1). Also, as John Paul II has wisely observed, “God always calls his priests from specific human and ecclesial contexts, which inevitably influence them; and to these same contexts the priest is sent for the service of Christ‟s Gospel.”26 In the light of these, it is no surprise, then, that the priestly ministry continually faces increasing challenges from contemporary African society. 1) Undue Influence from Pentecostalism Anybody outside Africa may not easily imagine the magnitude of Pentecostal Churches and the thought forms they indoctrinate into the contemporary African society. Pentecostals emphasize baptism of the Holy Spirit, and claim that authentic Christians must

be intoxicated by the Spirit, speak in tongues, see visions, prophesy, etc. Their worship is marked by spontaneity, non-formal liturgy and emotional experiences. Pentecostal Churches are so vast today that their effects on the Catholic Churches and priestly ministry can no longer be ignored without serious embarrassment. Day by day, great multitude of Catholics in Africa are being „converted‟ into Pentecostal Churches. When questioned about the source of their dissatisfaction with the Catholic Churches, many answers are immediately enumerated. But, many of them have failed to point accusing fingers at the lacklustre manner in which some Catholic priests carry out their ministry. Perhaps, as a reaction to this unfortunate phenomenon, many priests have started to conform to the Pentecostal manner of worship in order to be relevant and to retain their faithful. Hilary Achunike has argued strongly on this point.27 These days, it is not uncommon to see many Catholic priests who have become “Pentecostalized” in the exercise of their priestly ministry. Not a few Catholic priests have founded, and others still dream of founding, their “prayer ministries” in the Pentecostal sense, and garnish their homilies with the false theology of “sowing seed” in order to be blessed. Worse still, the prosperity gospel, in which a true Christian life is one without suffering and cross, is swiftly becoming the in-thing. Furthermore, lamenting the challenge posed by Pentecostalism to the priestly ministry in Africa today, F. Nwatu observes that most priests who make a choice for healing ministry are known for affluent and ostentatious lifestyles. They hob-nub with the rich and famous, especially with politicians. They use expensive cars and get involved in other capital intensive project that raise suspicious questions for the Church like “who owns these projects, the priest or the Church? Are these „ministries‟ personal or are they part of the Church?”28 Obviously, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church.29 Yet, the Catholic priest is reminded of the dangers posed by Pentecostalism. He is ever challenged to integrate and adapt to the Catholic tradition those elements of sanctification and of truth found in Pentecostalism and build their priestly ministry. 2) Malignant Backdrop of African Traditional Religion. African Traditional Religion (ATR) is the religio-cultural context from which most priests and lay faithful in Africa come and, to a great extent, a veritable unconscious sphere in which they interpret their daily experiences.30 It is well granted that ATR has numerous positive values that it can offer to the church and to humanity as a whole. John Paul II clearly states some of these “wealth of cultural values and priceless human qualities”: a profound religious

sense, a sense of the sacred, of the existence of God the creator and of spiritual world, the reality of sin in its individual and social forms, and the need for rites of purification and expiation. Others include the sense of the family, respect for life, veneration of ancestors, sense of solidarity and communal life.31 Moreover, African priests are affected by the values of their social milieu in their choices and decisions.32 For Adibe, the priest “has replaced the Igbo traditional believer‟s medicine man.”33 At the same time, it cannot be denied that the African cultural heritage which those in the priestly ministry share in does not always promote a true understanding and exercise of the Catholic priesthood. Along this line of thought, it has been observed that some of those who become priests or religious in Africa feel themselves alienated from their own culture; and this state of things can lead to their living in a very insecure manner, perpetually wearing a mask.34 “Deviations into syncretism” is one of such “masks” that could result if an integration of African culture into priestly ministry is lacking. 35 This poses a challenge to the vocation to priestly ministry in the African society. To address this, certain traditional values must be challenged and purified with regards to the Catholic priesthood, while others that are contrary to the spirit of the Gospel must be outrightly rejected. These include the priest-healer mentality which has spurred Catholic priests to found “ministries,” male chauvinism that debases women and presents problem to celibate loving, and the extended family system that constitutes a hindrance to the practice of evangelical poverty.36 3) The Increasing Demand Missions to Europe and North America Today, in most dioceses in Africa, there is the increasing demand on priests for missions to Europe and North America. Just as anything that has to do with man is prone to abuse, this recent situation is already a serious challenge to the priestly ministry in Africa. What is usually witnessed today is that many priests who have finished their further studies in those parts of the world prefer to stay longer and to make themselves missionaries to these territories without a formal sending by their diocesan Bishops, while others at home chart all means, even ways unchristian ones, to be enrolled among missionaries for European and North American countries. Sometimes, regrettably, some priests sent on mission „overseas‟ care less for the missionary activity as they care for certificate and wealth. Although the situations of the Churches in Europe and North America need priests from Africa as missionaries, this does not in any way warrant the inordinate crave and craze for it. Most times, the intentions of these priests who wantonly crave for missions to Europe and North

America are questionable. Bishops are advised to device policies in order to curtail this rising abuse. 4) The Craze for Further Studies in Europe and America This is closely association with the craze for mission. Of course, the necessity of further studies for Catholic priests is evident from the testimonies of the Scripture, the Sacred Tradition and Magisterium. Pope Leo XIII emphasizes the need to be prepared for “higher mission” that is equipped with the capacity to be involved in discussions touching faith and morals.37 The Council Father has advised that “secular culture and even sacred science are advancing at an unprecedented rate in our time. Priests are therefore urged to adequate and continuous perfection of their knowledge of things divine and human.”38 But, further studies is not an absolute right of any priest nor entirely for impersonal benefit.39 According to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the fundamental purpose of further studies is the diocesan needs, the various needs of the apostolate and the full personal development of the individual priests.40 Many African priests, today, are out for further studies in various parts of Europe and America. Even without counting the benefits of further education in Africa, often times, further studies outside the continent carries lots of problem in its train. The most common among these is the issue of over-stay in the „overseas‟ and the loss of bearing from one‟s root and local church. The craze for further studies has also led to some conflicts and rancor between the diocesan bishop and their priests who feel they must be sent abroad for higher education. It is not uncommon to see a situation where a priest sources for his sponsorship without the consent and support of the diocesan bishop. This situation poses a great challenge to the Church in Africa. To this end, Chiegboka has called for “a healthy further studies policy.”41 5) The Presence of Priests in Many Secular Fields Recently, there are increasing numbers of priests entering into the secular spheres fully. These include those who literally abscond from their dioceses of incardination to pursue private objectives in Europe, America and others, be it teaching appointments in universities and other fields of life, without the permission of their diocesan bishops. At home, there are still others who are full time covert traders, architects, managers of schools, partisan politicians, etc. Doubtlessly, this is a direct violation of and infidelity to their vocation. For “Christ did not bequeath to the church a mission in the political, economic, or social order: the purpose he assigned to it was a religious one.”42 Being representatives of the Church,

priests do not have a basic political, social or economic role. The basic function of priests lies in the salvation of souls. It is to forestall this ugly situation that the new Code stipulated some prohibitions for priests in the secular order.43 It is a serious challenge to the Church in Africa that not few priests are engrossed in violation of these prohibitions, usually without the permission of their diocesan bishops. 6) The Influence of the Pornographic-prone Media To be sure, this is an age in which man‟s genius has with God‟s help “have opened up new avenues of easy communication of all kinds of news, of ideas and orientations.”44 The 21st century has had enormous diffusion of the media. The means of social communication have turned the world into a global village. “Today, the means of mass communication have made our planets smaller, rapidly narrowing the distance between different people and cultures”45 The priests in the African society are not immune from both the positive and the negative effects of the mass media. The media have been used extensively in the pastoral work. However, they are not without much challenge to the priestly ministry. Constantly, priests are challenged to exercise moderation and discipline in their use of mass media especially “in the world of the internet, which enables billions of images to appear on millions of screens throughout the world.”46 If left unchecked, these media pose a serious sexual problem to the priest‟s fidelity to his celibacy. Despite the almost indispensable benefits of the mass media, “it seems quite absurd to maintain that they are neutral – hence unaffected by any moral considerations concerning people.47 Joseph Offor argues that the toughest challenge facing the African church in the new era of evangelization is its task of updating and modernizing its modern methods of bringing Christ to the society but even tougher still in getting itself properly equipped to use the new means of communication media to evangelize the society.48 The Catholic Bishops‟ Conference of Nigeria has also observed that the increasing influence of internet pornography, lewd music on audio tapes, immoral home videos, voyeuristic materials in print and some satellite TV channels pose a direct challenge to the morals of many including priests and consecrated persons.”49 African priests today must, therefore, be wary of the eroticized, pornographic-laden media and other dangerous ideologies capable of being transmitted through the media.

7) The Unfortunate Phenomenon of Sex Scandal and Abuse Our generation is the one that has witnessed an upsurge of sex scandal among the clergy. Many people, today, view sex as an object of experiment and wish to experiment with it as much as possible. This has significantly threatened the level of the faithful‟s trust and confidence on their priests: We believe that more than anything else, thus sign of priestly commitment (celibacy) elicits from the heart of our people a respect for us and a trust in us that is totally undeserved from the day of our priestly ordination, young and old, men and women, children and adults open their hearts and their lives to us in a manner that is truly humbling. They feel safe and secure in our presence.50 This devaluation of humanity poses challenges to those in the priestly ministry. Recent experiences in the Church have shown that all is not well with the way and manner some clergy live out their celibate commitment. In fact, with much sorrow, Fr. Donald B. Cozzens, translated the bleak status quo into words, The scandal of clergy misconduct with minors has cast a long shadow on the credibility and authority of priests and bishops – a shadow that will last well into the twenty-first century. They are still welcomed as pastoral caregivers, of course, but their prophetic preaching of the gospel message is taken by many with a grain of salt. Still welcomed as “chaplains” to comfort and console, they are less likely to be welcomed as pastors who bear a word from the Lord.51 It is, already, beginning to happen not only in Nigeria but also in other parts of Africa. Therefore, it is worth noting that things have radically changed today. People are increasingly becoming aware of their rights. This is a serious challenge to priestly ministry in Africa. But this is a critical time to learn from the past and to correct certain wrong attitudes prevalent among the clergy.52

Some Thematic Recommendations
Almost all the challenges mentioned above are either part and parcel of the contemporary African Society or the effects of the state of affairs in the secularized world today. Therefore, no practical and real recommendation will be orientated towards removing or avoiding them. The recommendations given here are geared towards enabling priests in the contemporary African society to swim against the strong currents that come inevitably from the society in which their areas of apostolate are located.

1) Inculturation: The Catholic Bishops‟ Conference of Nigeria has never ceased to advocate inculturation, for it is a total transformation of primordial values which shape the individual‟s altitudes and judgments, decisions and choices, behaviours and relationships.53 Indeed, the first African Synod prescribes inculturation as the most urgent way to form future priests to be representatives of Christ and true servants of the Christian community.54 Also, African priests are to examine the values they inherited from their people in the light of the Gospel, and seek authentic and dynamic ways of re-expressing the priestly ideals. In this way they will be able to influence and transform their people and evangelize their culture, as well as offer to the universal Church new ways of responding to the priestly vocation.55 2) The Aid of Modern Sciences in the Priestly Ministry Modern sciences like biology, psychology and psychiatry will offer no small aid both during the selection and training of candidates, and even after their ordination. Biology will enable the celibates to understand the rhythms of the body while psychiatry will take care of their care of their mental health. On a serious note, the aid of practicing qualified psychologists should be sought for the selection of candidates for the priestly ministry. This will ensure that only viable candidates are admitted and will forestall costly embarrassment in the future. Thankfully, few dioceses in Nigeria are already doing this. In addition, psychology can offer useful information that will help in testing candidates‟ maturity in the affective life.56 3) Review of the Seminary Curriculum Fr. George Ehusani has always forcefully suggested a complete review of the seminary curriculum as a way to meet up with the contemporary challenges to the vocation to the priestly ministry in Africa.57 There is the need that seminaries and congregations encourage the habit of regular seminars, conferences and workshops. Through extra-curricula structure where the candidates will dialogue and reflect with open minds about the challenges in the present day Africa society, they will be continually exposed to the realities in their surroundings. 4) Increased Reading Culture One of the ways to train priests after the mind of Christ and the Church, priests who are fit for the present age, is by cultivating a good reading culture in the candidates preparing for priesthood. This is because the Church of the 21st century needs priests who are holy and

learned, who are saints, gentlemen and scholars. When the intellectual life of the priest grows shallow, his preaching inevitably suffers. On this point, Donald B. Cozzens credibly advices that “serious reading and study is intimately connected with the life of the spirit. The inner life of the priest who is determined to feed his mind is simply different from the inner life of the priest who does not. There is a different quality to his prayer and contemplation….”58 In another passage, Cozzens appeals more persuasively, It bears repeating that priests who study regularly, pray differently. Their reading and reflection become staples of their spiritual lives allowing their imaginations to encounter with ever fresh insight the mysterious presence of God…. Having discovered the narrative nature of God‟s revelation and the human psyche, they listen for rumors of angels in the stories of love and betrayal, of comedy and tragedy, spoken by their parishioners. Strangely, the loneliness inherent to celibate ministry takes on a different hue. Having fed their minds and hearts with the wisdom of the ancient and the insights of contemporary theologians and spiritual writers, they discover a certain intimacy of soul in their hours of solitude. Such liberating and purifying study must be engaged, of course as an act of faith and prayer.59 5) Renewed Prayer Life Our Lord Jesus Christ addresses all priests with an increased intensity today, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5). For an ever fecund priestly ministry, the priests of contemporary African society are reminded of the irreplaceable necessity of prayer and other spiritual exercises.60 Referring to the necessity of prayer in the life of the priest, M. Hollings submits aptly that the centre and core of the whole priestly life is the relationship with God. He continued by stressing that “this relationship is to be so deep, strong and all-pervading that it is the very pulse, life-blood, heart of his whole being. Without it, he is empty, a functionary only, wrongly balanced and so ineffective.”61

We started by clarifying the term vocation from the varied hue of meaning it has accumulation in the modern times. In doing this, it was evident that vocation is different from a career or an occupation. Then, apart from and above the general vocation of every Christian, the vocation to the priesthood was demonstrated to be of a unique type, a special calling by God for service in the ministerial priesthood of Christ. To deepen the import of the foregoing, we went into discovering the theology of the ministerial priesthood of the New Testament. Since the priest is flesh and blood, he is bound to be affected by his immediate environment and culture. In this bid, we examined some of the challenges to the vocation to

the priestly ministry in the contemporary African society, challenges which affect the priest‟s fidelity to his vocation. We concluded by proffering few thematic recommendations, which will hopefully aid the priest in his fervent struggle to answer God‟s call. Even in the face of the rising challenges to the priestly ministry today, we are very confident on account of the many triumphs the grace of God has won and will continue to win. We are very optimistic for the many holy priests who have not given in to despair or lost their nerve. Together with Cozzens, we believe that “these are the priests who will sustain their colleagues...it is their voices that will speak the collective wisdom of the fraternity of presbyters. Their commitment to prayer, study, and ministry will continue to change the face of the priesthood well into the twenty-first century.”62


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Austin Flannery (Gen. Ed.). Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, 21 November, 1964, no. 10. th John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, 25 March 1992, no. 1. Austin Flannery (Gen. Ed.). Vatican II, Presbyterorum Ordinis, Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, 7 December, 1965, no. 3. Synod of Bishops, Ultimis temporibus, The Ministerial Priesthood, 30 November, 1967, no. 4. Ibid. Han J. W. Drivers, “Vocation,” The Encyclopedia of Religion, Mircea Eliade (Ed. In chief) (New York: Macmillian Publishing Company, 1987), 294. J. F. Kinnanne, “Vocational Psychology,” New Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1967), 738. “Vocation,” The Harper Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, Richard P. McBrien (Gen. Ed.) (New York: Harper San Francisco, 1995), 1319. nd “Vocation,” Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, 2 . th “Vocation,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocation, 12 March 2011. Ibid. The Cathechism of the Catholic Church (rev. ed), no. 2392. “Priesthood Is a Vocation, Not a Job,” the Pope’s address in a traditional meeting with priests of the Diocese of Rome held annually at the beginning of Lent, adapted from Zenith News Agency (www.zenith.org) th http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=40675, 10 March 2011. th http://www.holy-trinity.org/morality/synod-priesthood.html, 12 March 2011. Cornelius Uche Okeke, On Being a Fulfilled Catholic Priest: Understanding the Experience of Meaning and Meaninglessness in the Priesthood, (Nimo: Rex Charles & Patrick Limited, 2008), 13. Ibid. A Message from the Director of Vocations, Archdiocese of Brisbane, Monsignor Anthony Randazzo, th http://www.catholicpriesthood.com/ 12 March 2011. Austin Flannery (Gen. Ed.). Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, no. 10. John J. Castelot and Aelred Cody, “Religious Institutions of Israel,” The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, (London: Burns and Oates, 1990), 1258. rd Richard McBrien, Catholicism, 3 Ed. (New Delhi: St. Pauls, 1994), 864. Joseph Martos, Doors to the Sacred: A Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Catholic Church, rev. ed. (Missouri: Liguori/Triumph, 1943), 400. Joseph Ratzinger, Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today, trans. By Andrian Walker (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996). Ibid.

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John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis, no. 14. Austin Flannery (Gen. Ed.). Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, 7 December, 1965, no. 1. John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis, no. 5. Hilary Achunike, The Influence of Pentecostalism on Catholic Priests and Seminarians in Nigeria, (Onitsha: Africana first Publishers, 2004), 11. Felix Nwatu, The Catholic Priesthood in Nigeria Today: The Wheat and the Cockle, (Enugu: Fourth Dimension, 2010), 25. Austin Flannery (Gen. Ed.). Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, 21 November, 1964, no. 8. Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Letter to Presidents of Episcopal Conference of Africa and of Madagascar, Rome, 25 March, 1988. John Paul II, Ecclesia in Africa, Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, 14 September, 1995, nn. 42 – 43. Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, I chose you: The Nigerian priests in the third millennium, (Abuja: Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, 2004) 2. Gregory Ejiofor Adibe, The Crisis of Faith and Morality of the Igbo Christians of Nigeria, (Onitsha: Mid field Publishers, 1992), 156. Instrumentum Laboris of the 1994 Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, no. 69. Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, I chose you, 2. Ibid. Leo XIII, Fin Dal Principio, Encyclical Letter on the Education of the Clergy, 8 December, 1902, nn. 3- 7. Flannery (Gen. Ed.). Vatican II, Presbyterorum Ordinis, 9. A.B.C. Chiegboka, The Diocesan Priests and Further Studies, (Nimo: Rex Charles and Patrick, 2009), 7. Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Instructions on the Sending Abroad and the Sojourn of Diocesan Priests from Mision territories, 6. A.B.C. Chiegboka, The Diocesan Priests and Further Studies, 20. Austin Flannery (Gen. Ed.). Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, no. 42. CIC, Can. 285, §§1-4. Austin Flannery (Gen. Ed.). Vatican II, Inter Mirifica, Degree on the Means of Social Communication, 4 December, 1963, no. 1. th Benedict XVI, Encyclical letter Deus Caritas Est, 25 December 2005, no. 30. th Benedict XVI Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, 30 September, 2010, n. 113. th Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter, Caritas in Veritate, 29 June 2009, no. 73. Joseph Offor, “The Priest and Evangelization in Information Age,” in John Chidi Nwafor, et al (eds), The Priesthood and the Nigerian Contemporary Society, (Enugu: Black Belt Konzult Ltd, 2008), 299. Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Called to Love: Ethical Standards for Clergies and Seminarians in Nigeria, (Abuja: Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, 2006), 11. Ibid., p. v. Donald B. Cozzens, The Changing Face of the Priesthood: A Reflection on the Priest’s Crisis of Soul, (Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2000), 137. Ibid., p. 6. Ibid., p. 5. John Paul II, Ecclesia in Africa, no. 95. Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, I Chose You, 5. M. Ifunanyachukwu Veronica Igwe, “Religious Life and the Counsel of Chastity in Contemporary Nigerian Society,” in Bernard Ukwuegbu, et al., Ad Dandam Salutis: An Innovative Approach to Priestly Ministry, (Orlu: Chimavin productions, 2010), 175. st nd George Ehusani, Challenges for the Church in the 21 Century, 2 Edition, (Abuja: Catholic Secretariat Publication, 2003), 36. Donald B. Cozzens, The Changing Face of the Priesthood, 139. Ibid., 141. Austin Flannery (Gen. Ed.). Vatican II, Presbyterorum Ordinis, no. 18. Michael Hollings, Living Priesthood, (Essex: Mayhew-McCrimmon Ltd, 1977), 43. D. B. Cozzens, The Changing Face of the Priesthood, 141.

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