Imagine that St. Augustine’s Catholic Church was filled on a Sunday morning with people from different parts of the world who had come for mass only to be told told that their priest had been killed some few minutes ago.
Although like every other person the priest is human; nevertheless, in the imagination above, no person in the imagined church can carry out the killed priest’s ministry unless he is to be ordained a priest within a twinkle of an eye. What if there are no other priests in the region where St. Augustine’s Catholic Church is located? What happens to the people at least for that day? When you kill a priest: you kill someone really special. You kill a man chosen from among men to offer sacrifices for sins not only for the people but himself as well. You kill someone who was called by God. You kill the anointed one of God and you touch His prophet. You deprive many souls the food of the soul and the needed peace to often be in the presence of the Lord joyfully.
When I go for the sacrament of reconciliation, I appreciate the gift of the priesthood of Christ given to mortal men like me. The peace I often felt following the burden removed from my shoulders as the priest says the prayer of absolution over me is an experience of God’s mercy through the beautiful hands of a priest. In similar vein I understand what joy is often felt by many others to whom I have ministered the same sacrament.
When you kill a priest, the earth quakes! When you kill a priest, stars fall from the heavens! When you kill a priest, birds stop singing! When you kill a priest you annoy heaven and offend God!
Late Fr Michael Akawu of Abuja Archdiocese, I have only come to know about you when you had died! Your death is mourned by your brother priests … May your soul rest in peace. May your killers one day receive absolution from the hands of a priest.
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