Onaiyekan To Clergymen: You’re Called To Serve Not Exploit People

Cardinal John Onaiyekan
Cardinal John Onaiyekan

Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has urged clerics to avoid taking undue advantage of their followers, saying religious leaders ought to be servants of the people, not their exploiters.

Onaiyekan spoke Sunday during the ordination ceremony of five new priests at Catholic Church of the Archangels, Gaduwa, Abuja.

Noting that clerics were in short supply compared to the people, he, however, hinted at his looming exit from the service of the Church.

He said: “Generally, in the world, clerics are not enough. So, we are glad to have more people ordained to serve as religious leaders.

“Every cleric is supposed to be a servant of truth and serving the people in humility. Among clerics, there are some who are focused on looking after young people.

“We must remind them that their calling is to holiness, and sanctity of life for themselves and the people, especially the youths and children. Their mission should be to bring them nearer to God.”

He urged the new priests to focus on God in order to overcome temptation, especially when they work with young people.

The Archbishop advised: “Keep your focus on God. You are weak but when you work with God, you become strong. Anytime you leave Him, you will fall. So live each day with the grace of God.

“As you pass through a lot of struggles and feel life is very tough, reflect on your calling and remember God calls those who are weak and makes them strong.

“Every time I preside over ordinations, I never know which will be my last, I am saying goodbye to everyone because I am already at the end (due for retirement).”