Ordination à huis clos
On the morning of Saturday, June 13, 2020, full rain clouds filled the skies as the deacons to be, processed to the Chapel in masks and gloves with the ordaining prelate, Mgr. Jean Salomon Lezoutié, Bishop of the diocese of Yopougon in Côte d’Ivoire. The ominous nature of the weather and the current pandemic we are going through could not dampen the joy that was in the hearts of us all as we sang with elation in the Chapel because, after extensions and restrictions, the ordination of our brothers was finally going to take place.
Present among those to be ordained was our very own Eziokwubundu Amadi, SJ. Given the fact that there is an ongoing pandemic, the Mass was held behind closed doors (or as they say here à huis clos) with only the Jesuits in the ITCJ and CERAP communities present. This meant that friends and family members of those to be ordained could not attend. It was a lively and joyful ceremony animated by the Jesuit community choir that sang songs from all over the African continent.
In his homily to the ordinands, the Bishop, Mgr Lezoutié encouraged the deacons to take up Elisha’s example from the first reading from the First Book of Kings, who left the plough to follow Elijah in the service of the Lord. In the same light, from the Gospel according to Matthew, he encouraged the men to be ordained to be men of their words with their “Yes” being and meaning “Yes” and “No” being and meaning “No.” He also took the time to remind them that now that they have been ordained, they have an obligation to pray the Divine Office.
The rites for ordination continued but with slight modifications given the fact that everybody wanted to respect the health and safety protocols surrounding COVID-19.
After the Mass, everyone gathered in the refectory for meals and slightly muted celebrations.
On the whole, we give thanks to God for the lives of our 14 brothers who were ordained, but we are most especially grateful for the life of our brother Eziokwu.