Fr. Mbaka and The Future of Adoration Ministry Enugu

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There is something about Fr Mbaka, you do not need to like him to see it. He is someone that is very passionate about what he believes and very fearless.

Keeping sentiments aside and evaluating him not based on one single event, Fr Mbaka is gifted, he has influenced many positively, helped many poor people, inspired many to become priests, and helped many that have lost faith to draw closer to God.

As expected, there is a but.

The “but” is hinged on the fact that he has become a god to many, one that can be worshipped.

This is largely not his fault. Even in the Bible, it is not uncommon for people to worship God’s messengers.

In act 14: 11-13 we saw how the people wanted to make Paul and Barnabas gods. In fact, they already gave them names of their gods and have started bringing things to sacrifice to them and worship them.

In act 10: 25-26, Peter went to the house of Cornelius who immediately got up to worship Peter.

In all the cases above, we saw clearly how the apostles were quick to rebuke the people and remind them that they are mere mortals like everyone. In fact, Paul and Barnabas had to tear their clothes in anger.

Most of those that go to Enugu for adoration go there because of Fr Mbaka.

On the surface, it is not supposed to be a problem because all ministers are gifted differently and no Christian is expected to connect with every minister on the same level.

But the problem comes when holy water blessed by priest-A is more “holy” than the one blessed by priest-B. When the Blessed Sacrament raised by Fr A is more “Jesus” than the one raised by Fr B.

If something is not done to redirect the people on the right path, it will create a dangerous impression. . .The minister will become a god. Followers will become fanatical. If the minister asks them to eat grass, they will. They will do it gladly if it means destroying the cathedral for the minister’s sake. The people will easily forget that the priest they deify is still under the authority of his bishop and whatever he does as a priest is done in the name of the bishop.

Bishop Onaga of Enugu is creating a consciousness by making the Enugu Adoration ministry a chaplaincy – the consciousness that it is Christ first and not the Minister. Because as it is right now, and we have experienced it before, if Fr Mbaka is posted somewhere and to some other functions away from the adoration ministry and another priest is posted to take his place, chances are, the adoration ministry will die.

Why?

Because most times our worship is usually centered around the minister, and if he is no more, our so-called worship comes to an end.

The Catholic Church is usually skeptical when so much that has to do with faith is tied unto one man as the only one God uses, apart from the fact that it breeds fanatical Christians (and fanatical Christians don’t usually last because their foundations are weak), it gives room for abuses (we have seen some of these in political predictions and using the altar as a campaign ground).

So while the church encourages you to exercise your gifts, she also wants you to create a balance: know when you are going too far and know when you have stopped moving. . . virtue is always at the middle. . .then if possible, create a structure that will not only moderate your possible excesses but will live after you.

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Fr. Kelvin Ugwu
Fr. Kelvin Ugwu
Fr Kelvin Ugwu MSP is an influential Nigerian Catholic priest on a mission in The Gambia.

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