Saints Peter & Paul Major Seminary
Bodija, Ibadan, Nigeria
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Friday, December 14, 2018



The retreat was held from 9th to 13th December, 2018. The choice of the theme of the retreat was based on the fact that the gentlemen in the deacon’s class are very close to ordination, and therefore, the need to know how to be effective pastorally in the ministry at this point is highly indispensable. Fr. Abe strongly believes that for one to be effective in the ministry, one necessarily needs to live his priestly life joyfully, for joy is the invaluable sign of God’s presence. To achieve this joy, Fr. Abe outlines some negative mentalities that can kill the joy of the priesthood and how to overcome them. Some of these mentalities are:

        i.            The Hired Man Mentality

      ii.            The Unbridled Mouth Mentality

    iii.            The Saulite Mentality

THE HIRED MAN MENTALITY: This is a negative mentality that promotes mediocrity, minimalist and nonchalant attitudes to life and whatever we do. This mentality does not require one to give his best. It makes one to function like a hire man who does his work shabbily without regard for diligence. This mentality is against the virtue of diligence, hard work, dedication and commitment. Any priest with this kind of mentality will only be concerned with what directly affects him. The cleanliness and maintenance of the Church, parish house, vestments, sacred vessels and other Church property are not his concern. Such a priest will be lazy, seeing no need to go beyond the minimum requirement. To live and enjoy the joy of the priesthood, we need to live a life of excellence. Excellence is achieved only by hard and persistent work and hard work does not kill. The quality of a person’s life is directly proportional to the person’s dedication to duty regardless of the chosen field of endeavour. Your worth in the priesthood will be achieved not by mere appellation, but by your dedication. Ordination is not a call to laziness, idleness and joblessness; it is a call to diligence, hard work, commitment and dedication.

Scriptural Passages: John 10:11-12; Proverbs 12:11; Colossians 3:23; Luke 16:10; Ecclesiastes 9:10.

One of the best ways to overcome this mentality is the strong desire and dedication to build a good reputation which must start now. Nothing lasts forever, yet some things out lasts others. Such thing is good reputation. When we call ourselves by God’s name and share in his life, His ‘reputation’ becomes tied to ours and people can either honour or disregard God on the account of our reputation.

Scriptural Passages: Mark 1:27-28; Matthew 4:23-25; Proverbs 3:3-4; 1 Peter 2:12; Sirach 41:12-13; Luke 21:5-6; Matthew 5:16; Romans 2:21-24.

THE UNBRIDLED MOUTH MENTALITY: This mentality thrives on vulgarity, garrulous speaking, talkativeness, lack of self-control and immaturity in speech. The mouths of people enslaved by this mentality often run faster than their brains. People in this situation are petty and childish when they talk. Priests and priests to be ought to be men of polished and refined words; and our words are supposed always to edify people and glorify God.

Scriptural Passages: Psalm 141:3; Proverbs 13:3-4; Matthew 22:15-17; Proverbs 17:27; Luke 19:47-48; Proverbs 18:21; Sirach 6:5-6; Proverbs 14:3; 17:28; 20:19.

To overcome this mentality, there is a connection between one’s mouth and mind, and this is why the battle against unbridled mouth must begin from the heart. Holiness is a product of a pure heart, truthfulness is a product of a truthful heart, and immoral and dirty talks are the product of a dirty and immoral heart. The secret is, guide what you feed your mind with. Fix your mind with the Word of God, protect your senses against satanic seductions, guide your mind against idleness.

Scriptural Passages: Luke 6:43-45; Mark 7:15-23; Proverbs 4:23; Ephesians 4:23-24; Romans 12:2.

THE SAULITE MENTALITY: This mentality is a manifestation of anger, bitterness, hatred and resentment at the success and achievement of others driven by pure jealousy and hatred. This was the situation between Saul and David. The priesthood is not a competition zone. This mentality leads to chasing after shadows and emptiness; and it breeds jealousy, ambition, disharmony and wickedness of every kind. “Whenever you find yourself not happy at the success of others, you are under the yoke of saulite mentality.”

Scriptural Passages: 1 Samuel 18:6-9; 13:1-6; James 3:16; Acts 13:44-45.

The solution to this mentality is found in Psalm 133:1, Proverbs 11:25; Acts 11:32-33 and Romans 12.


To stay happy and relevant in the priesthood, the priest must avoid careless living and stay healthy. Health is wealth and perfect health is perfect beauty. Avoid consumption of junks and unhealthy foods and drinks. Apart from the health implication, gluttony and unhealthy eating habits are defilement of our body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Daniel and his companions did not refuse food from the royal table just to stay healthy, but at the same time to avoid the defilement of their body. There is a spiritual dimension to eating and drinking. Controlling what we eat and drink is to exercise the freedom and self-control that God has given to us.

Scriptural Passages: Daniel 1:8-12; 15-17; Sirach 30:15-16; Romans 6:12; Sirach 18:20

Eat healthily; take lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts and water. Avoid eating too early in the morning and late at night. Learn to play games and do exercises. Keep your environment clean and tidy, and maintain good personal hygiene. Learn to find time to rest. And above all, be close and friendly with your brother priests. Make the parish house warm, loving and welcoming for your brother priests. Know that the parish house is not a family house, nor is it a guest house, so, mind the people you pack into the parish house. Priests must stay together and be there for one another. When we have healthy and happy priests, we have a healthy and happy diocese.


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