Second priest from Lozaphuhu ordained
Dimapur, Dec 28: Rev. Fr. Vekupa Rhakho George, the second Catholic Priest from Lozaphuhu village was ordained by Rev. Dr. James Thoppil, Bishop of Kohima on December 18 at St. Mary School, Ground, Lozaphuhu, Phek.
On the occasion, Fr. George was led to the altar by the village elders in the traditional Chakhesang attire. Fr. Patric Neikhalo, the parish priest welcomed all to the auspicious ceremony.
The ordination ceremony began after the proclamation of the gospel with the calling and of the candidate, after which the parents of Fr. George blessed him and removed the traditional attires, signifying that he is set apart for God’s work. Fr. Carolus Neisalhou, the Vicar General, presented the candidate for ordination, followed by the homily of the bishop.
Bishop thanked the parents and relatives of Fr. George for offering him to the service of God in the Church. He said Jesus invites people to share in his ministerial priesthood, not because of the innate merit of the person, rather because of God’s love for him and added that God empowers the one who is called.
Bishop stressed the three aspects of priestly call referring to the gospel of St. John: “God has chosen you (John 15:16), God wants one to be with him (John 15:3); God wants to send you (John 15:16)”.
Stating that Holy Spirit is the very oxygen of God enabling the body of Christ, the Church, to breathe in the very essence of God, empowering each individual member of that body to be engaged in mission, Bishop advised the ordaining priest to know that the Lord wishes to do great things in him as he offered himself to be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. He told him that God wants him to be for his people the true ‘face of Christ’, the one whom people can easily identify as a man of God and one entrusted with the divine mysteries.
Bishop also requested the congregation to uphold Deacon George in their prayers so that he may discern God’s plan for him and in his ministry and to correct him gently when they find him straying away, boost his spirit when he feel low, appreciate him when he is doing well and encourage him when he feels discouraged for priesthood is a great treasure given in vessels of clay.
After the homily, the ordination ceremony commenced with questioning the candidate, invocation for the power of the Holy Spirit by praying the litany of the saints, laying on hands, prayer of consecration, investiture in the priestly attire, anointing on hands, presentation of the gifts of bread and wine for the Eucharistic celebration and the kiss of peace.
In a press release, Fr. Thomas Toretkiu, secretary to Bishop, said the newly ordained priest, Deacon Vekupa Rhakho George was born on September 30, 1985 and is the fourth son of seven siblings. Being born and brought up in the atmosphere where the “Gun Culture” existed, he desired to be in the army. The encouragement of his father to send him to Sainik School someday was a dream that he always had in his mind. Gradually another life style, that of the priest began to grow in him. He began his studies in pursuit of priesthood in the year 2000 at St. Xavier Seminary Jalukie (High School), Newman Bible College, Chumukedima (+1), St. Xavier Seminary, Jalukie (+2), Vianney Home, Chabua, Assam (Spiritual Orientation), St. Joseph’s College, Jakhama (Bachelor of Arts, Sociology), Sacred Heart Church, Chizami (1st Year Regency), Papal Seminary of St. Francis Xavier, Pune (Bachelor in Philosophy+ Master in Philosophy) St. Francis Xavier Church, Shamator (2nd Year Regency), Papal Seminary of St. Francis Xavier, Pune (Bachelor in Theology), Ordained Deacon by Bishop Valerian D’Souza (Bishop Emeritus of Pune).
Rev. Fr. Lawrence, SJ and Mhashepalu Marina anchored the program. The choir and special presentation by Whuories added colour to the ceremony. Fr. George expressed words to gratitude. Priests, sisters, VIPs, leaders from CAN, NCWA, NCYM, pastors of the various churches, public leaders and invited guests also attended the function.