First Catholic priest from Khonoma village ordained

Kohima, December 30 (MExN): Reverend Deacon Megoriakho Thomas Punyϋ, the first priest from St. John the Evangelist Church, Khonoma, was ordained for the Diocese of Kohima on December 30 at Khonoma. The Mass of Ordination was presided over by Most Rev Dr James Thoppil, Bishop of Kohima diocese.

According to a press release from Media and Publicity Committee, St. John the Evangelist Church, Khonoma, the motto of the newly ordained priest is “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1).”

In his homily, the Bishop explained that a priest is ordained, not of men but of God, to lift up Jesus Christ that men may look unto Him and be saved. The function of the priest in short, is to lift up Christ, that He may draw all men unto Him and give them eternal life. He asserted that once ordained, a priest is a marked man, impressed with the indelible character of priesthood. The priest has prophetic functions to preach the word and pastoral functions to lift up the crucified among the flock. He is bestowed with divinely committed powers that can never be withdrawn, the Bishop said. 

He exhorted Deacon Thomas to remember that lifting up Jesus Christ before men is to be his life-work, and encouraged him to be not merely a priest, but also a good priest for God’s people, his flock, through prayer, withdrawal from busy pursuits and diligent study of the word of God. Though it is challenging, prayer especially, is indispensable to be a good priest, he advised the newly ordained priest.

He concluded by thanking the family and relatives of Deacon Thomas for offering him to God and to the Church.  He urged the family members and the community to continue to uphold Deacon Thomas in their prayers. 

Earlier, Deacon Thomas Punyϋ was accompanied by his age group members as he entered the church with Bishop James, priests and family members.  The traditional blessing was pronounced by Vikepelhu Lucas Meyase, followed by the rite of ordination presided over by the Bishop. Rev. Fr. Dr. Pezalhukho George Rino, Asst. Professor & Director of Men’s Hostel, St. Joseph’s College (Autonomous), Jakhama, led the ordination ceremony, and Rev.Fr. Vekupa George, Assistant Parish Priest, Khonoma, accorded words of welcome.

The Holy Mass was followed by felicitation and community feast.  The programme witnessed two special numbers by CYA Khonoma, and Salesian Novitiates from SechϋZubza, and speeches from Bishop James, and Kepelhuto Peter Punyϋ, father of the newly ordained priest.

In his acknowledgement, Rev. Fr. Thomas Punyϋ thanked all those who encouraged him during his journey to priesthood and made it possible for him to stand at the altar.  Vote of thanks was delivered by Neikeselie Albert, President, Khonoma ACU.  The felicitation programme was anchored by Rokosekho Ronald.