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Moroto Diocese gets first Comboni Priest

/, News/Moroto Diocese gets first Comboni Priest

By Fr. Nicholas Onyait MCCJ

After more than 50 years of evangelization and presence in the diocese of Moroto, Karamoja, the Comboni family was blessed with the ordination to the priesthood of Rev Fr. Gabriel Angella on the 23rd of April 2022 at Namalu parish, his own parish. Namalu parish was founded and is still run by the Comboni Missionaries. The ordination Mass was presided over by Monsignor Damiano Guzzetti, the Ordinary of Moroto diocese, a Comboni missionary. The Christian community of Namalu was filled with overwhelming joy for their son Gabriel, who is not only the first Comboni priest but also the first priest native of Namalu.

In his homily, the bishop reminded Fr. Gabriel of his role as a shepherd, a figure that is typical of his tribe, the Karimojong pastoralists. He reminded him of his role as a priest to take care of the sheep and to be ready to lay down his life for them, always offering his life for the flock without running away or abandoning them. He told him to be ready to fight the enemies of the flock, to lead the flock, not for money but out of love, quoting the first letter of Saint Peter, 5:2. He continued that the priestly ministry to which Fr. Gabriel is ordained is centered on Christ and the Eucharist. Thus, he was asked to celebrate it with devotion, always mindful of the spirituality of the good shepherd who also gives his life as bread that is broken to give life. Monsignor Damiano called on him as a priest to plead with the Lord like the Samaritan woman (John 4:15) for the water of life for himself and for the flock that he will lead.

Fr. Gabriel’s ordination is an inspiration to many young people in the diocese. It is also a sign of growth in the local Church of Moroto that is now sending missionaries to the world. From humble beginnings of the vocation of Fr Gabriel, the words of Saint Daniel Comboni that the mission starts from contemplation at the foot of the cross become real.

Fr. Gabriel is personally convinced that it is the desire of the Lord that is being accomplished in him. He was presented with many symbolic gifts among which was the traditional stool and stuff, typical of a Karimojong shepherd, adorned with sandals and a shawl. If the Christian faithfully practices fasting and other forms of penance, he will discover that these are practices in which he most resembles Christ.
St. Peter tells us that as Christ suffered in the flesh, we should also suffer with him, for if we are partakers in His pain, we shall also share in His glory.