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ODE TO A SPECIAL PRIEST

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Rev. Fr. Prof. Elobuike Malachy Nwabuisi, CSSp, PhD (emeritus)

Congratulations, Fr. on your 50th Golden Jubilee Ordination Anniversary. This is an ode to you, an uncle, a special friend, and a priest. A priest is “the man of God” (2 Tim. 3:17). I declare here my respect and admiration for this good man who loves people and God. He was made to be a priest. The call to the priesthood was an enormous gift from God despite the sacrifice it would entail. This good father found his true calling when he received the Holy Orders. Worthy priests give to every church its stability and fruitfulness. Let us hold the priest in veneration and be grateful to him because he brings us our Lord. Above all, let us pray for the fulfillment of his lofty mission, which is the mission of Jesus “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). It is a divine mission that makes the head spin and drives one mad with love when one reflects upon it deeply.

But this sublime grandeur brings an enormous responsibility, which weighs upon the weak human nature of the priest, a human nature fully identical with that of every other man. St. Bernard said:, “The priest, by nature is like all other men; by dignity he surpasses every other man on earth; by his conduct he ought to imitate the angels”. We are all aware that only a few priests are endowed with genius. One man can seldom be “good” in all aspects of Christ’s ministry. Try to take your priest as he is, a limited human being like the rest of us. See in him the man with a message from God, and pray for him. Whether a priest’s sermon is good or bad, we should receive the message not as the word of humans but as the word of God. As a devout Catholic, an altar boy (Mass server) during my teen and adult years, I have observed that not all priests are as gentle, great, saintly, and dedicated as Rev Fr. Dr. Malachy Nwabuisi.

He honored our EPA invitation to attend our 2013 4th Biennial Convention and fundraising held in LA, California. He made acquaintance with my wife and never seized to thank us for our little medical advice and generosity. He prayed that God, in His infinite goodness, would continue to bless our efforts and protect each and every one of us.

He has been living his life, reflecting all we have learned and heard about priesthood. A divine calling, a sublime mission, an angelic life, a very high dignity….what immense burdens…all on poor human flesh. With him, no time is lost between thinking and doing. He has the best sense of reality, and we love him for everything he did for the Ebe community during his time as interim President of Ebe General Assembly. He magnified out of proportion an element that was present in Jesus’ teaching….unity, peace, and progress in Ebe community. This shows his human factor at work. Priests are Rev Fathers only in relation to God (Jesus does not dictate a vocabulary; he demands the right spirit!). I also admire him on account of his ceaseless labor in facilitating the higher education of some Ebe indigenes, who studied and some presently living in USA. Yes, he cares for others deeply and lift them up in prayer. He has given fervor to the lukewarm and stimulates the good to become ever better and to encourage the saintly to walk on the heights of perfection.

Rev. Fr. Dr. Malachy Nwabuisi is not only a priest but a well-educated gentleman and a humanitarian. He graduated from the preeminent senior seminary…Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, Nigeria…. and was ordained a priest in 1972. He also holds a doctorate degree in psychology from Columbia University, NY, USA. He joined the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, faculty as a professor in the Dept of psychology until his retirement. As a scholar, I can not but admire such learning and intelligence. Education is one of the most powerful means of human progress. A community is great only in proportion to its advancement in education. He never forgot his duties to others less fortunate than himself. He devoted a part of his energy to the uplift of those sunk in wretchedness. Hence, he became a center of wholesome influence, a pride to Ebe community, and an honor to his priesthood. A hero in the unlikeliest of habitats: a priest serving his people through love. Thank you for being such a great example of living a life of faith.

This piece is an ode to him. It is also an ode to all priests who do the simple (but difficult and perhaps unpopular) priestly things well, as dispensers of holy help for this journey, as truth-tellers to their flock. We need to be reassured by the truth, even when we already know it. My family wishes you the Lord’s blessing for the 50th Jubilee of your priestly ordination.

Respectfully yours in Christ 🙏

Chief, Sir, Dr. Osy Ekwueme and Family.
WI. USA

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