On November 21, 2020, Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator SJ, President of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar, celebrated Mass in the Chapel of the Jesuit Institute of Theology (ITCJ). During the course of the mass, he instituted first and second-year theologians into the ministries of lector and acolyte, respectively.

Institution into these ministries signifies both the spiritual development of the candidates who have cultivated a deep devotion to God’s Word in Scripture and the Holy Eucharist as men aspiring to ordained ministry as well as their commitment to evangelization, bringing the word of God and the Holy Eucharist to the people of God.

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During his soul-piercing homily inspired by the Gospel reading drawn from Mt 20, 20-28, Fr. Orobator assured the candidates that there was no problem with desiring to sit by the Lord’s side. However, he urged them to examine the motive of such a desire. He invited them to ponder over the fact that Jesus, on whose side they want to be, has no place to lay his head and that being by His side entails leaving their comfort zones – their Mount Thabor moments – to be on the move in the service of the proclamation of the Kingdom. He exhorted the candidates to be fully aware that the ministry they are receiving is a complete grace and not merely a step towards ordained ministry. He called on them to fructify this grace here and now by being disciples in service after the example of Christ the True Model and to shun away from false models of service who seek places of honor and power. Fr. Orobator concluded his homily by praying the Lord to confirm and bless the candidates’ desire to serve in the Lord’s mission through these ministries.

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During the institution rite, thirty-one (31) theologians of ITCJ were conferred the ministry of lector and the ministry of acolyte, of which one (1) was from the Clerics of St. Viateur (CSV) religious institute, six (6) from Regina Pacis Institute of Missionary Clerics (ICMRP), and twenty-four (24) Jesuits. They will now exercise these ministries at ITCJ, at their respective religious congregation and institutes as well as parishes where they carry out their apostolates.