Bishop ordains priest in Tesophenyu
Dimapur, Dec. 30 (EMN): The priestly ordination of deacon Shayhunlo Stephen Kemp and the golden jubilee celebration of St. Peter’s Church was simultaneously held on December 28 at Tesophenyu. The ordination and Holy Eucharistic was administered by Rev. Dr. James Thoppil, Bishop of Kohima, in the presence of priests, sisters, brothers, special invitees, friends and relatives and invited guest.
The deacon was presented by his parents after removing the traditional dress, indicating that he is being set apart for God’s work. It was reported that deacon Stephen is the lone professing Catholic from his family. He was born on October 11, 1989, at Tesophenyu. He is from a Baptist family who embraced the Catholic faith on December 25, 2004, when he was in high school. He later joined the seminary to begin his formation to priesthood in the year 2006 at St. Xavier’s Seminary, Jalukie. He was in the different stages of formation till he was ordained by Rev. Dr. James Thoppil.
Bishop declared the event as a great day for Tesophenyu village, particularly the Catholic community in the village, diocese of Kohima and the church around the world.
In his homily, the Bishop highlighted the nature of the rank in the church as a priest to which deacon Stephen was about to be raised. He elaborated saying, “It is true that God has made His entire holy people a royal priesthood in Christ. Nevertheless, our great priest himself Jesus Christ chose certain disciples to carry out publicly in His name and on behalf of mankind, a priestly office in the church. For Christ was sent by the Father and He, in turn, sent the apostles into the world so that through them and their successors, the Bishops might continue to exercise his office of teacher, priest, and shepherd.”
The Bishop expressed gratitude to his parents, to his dear and near ones, some whom were not Catholics yet, the Catholic community in Tesophenyu, faculty and staff of the seminary where he finished his formation, fellow seminarians, and to all who have assisted him in responding to God’s call to the ordained priesthood.
Bishop encouraged Rev. Stephen in the words of Saint Paul to the priests of the Church at Ephesus: “Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock.”
During the ordination, the deacon promised obedience to the Bishop and celibacy. Bishop also anointed the palm of deacon Stephen with the Chrism oil and the invoking of holy saints and the laying on of hands by all the priest con-celebrants. Bishop also called upon deacon Stephen to pray each day in order to make his heart become more and more like the heart of Christ- the Good Shepherd.
Earlier, the jubilee monolith was blessed and dedicated by Bishop James which was followed by planting of winter tree.
During the felicitation programme, Er. Levi Rengma, parliamentary secretary of PWD (Housing), graced the event as the guest of honour. In his speech, he thanked the Catholic community for their spirit of oneness and love that they share among themselves. He applauded the community for being the strong rock which was a reflection of the jubilee theme “Peter! You are the rock and on this rock I will build my Church” (Mt 16:18).
After the ordination, the newly ordained priest continued the Holy Mass and gave his first priestly blessing to the people.
Fr. Stephen has thanked God for blessing him and calling him to share in the ministry of Jesus. He also expressed gratitude to the gathering for their presence and prayers. He further acknowledged all who accompanied him in his journey to priesthood.
Rev. Fr. Philip Magh, assistant priest and principal of Holy Cross Church anchored the programme, while Justin Magh and Ms K Jacinta Magh were the hosts of the felicitation programme and special items were presented by the Tesophenyu Group Women Union and others. Shengato Jemu delivered the vote of thanks.