A Province of Society of Jesus in South Asia Assistancy
PRIESTLY ORDINATION OF DN. NIRMAL MINJ SJ
Posted on: 25 Jan, 2022 Modified on: 25 Jan, 2022
By Fr Ashok Sandil, SJ
St. Patrick’s Cathedral Gumla: 24 January 2022 - Undaunted by the cold and exceptionally foggy stillness of a forebodingly overcast sky and restrictive Covid-19 protocol in force, Priestly Ordination of Dn. Nirmal Minj SJ was carried out by Most Rev. Fulgence Aloysius Tigga DD, Bishop of Raiganj, this morning. The Ordination Eucharist began at 8.00 AM with a lilting entrance hymn – Janam jugale janam juga lagin, Prabhu Yesu toyn moke chunale (Forever, O Lord Jesus, forever have you chosen me!) – while two columns of young girls in ethnic attire danced to jaunty drum beats. Rev. Fr. Ranjit Xalxo read out a brief life sketch of Dn. Nirmal Minj SJ, and Rev. Fr. Jerome Ekka, the Parish Priest, warmly welcomed the dignitaries, guests and the faithful.
The Ordaining Prelate introduced the Sacerdotal Mass by quoting Pope Francis, “Priest is a precious jewel – not for himself but for the entire Church.” He went ahead to invite the congregation to witness the ordination and join Dn. Nirmal Minj SJ in offering the prayers and sentiments of thanksgiving to God. He also asked the congregation to offer all prayers exclusively as intercession for the Ordinandi. He also graciously remembered the prayerful support and contribution of numerous men and women towards the formation, guidance, support and solidarity to Dn. Nirmal.
The First Reading was read by Kripalata Minj, the elder sister of Dn. Nirmal, from the Book of Isaiah 61: 1-3 which reminded us of the significant role of the ordained priest regarding the continuation of the Mission of Christ on earth. The Second Reading was read by his brother Anuranjan Minj from 1 Peter 5: 1-4 which highlighted the servant-role of the ordained priest who, as Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd, gathers the scattered flock. Dn. Nirmal read out the Gospel from Jn. 15: 9-17 that characteristically reminds us that God is love and full of mercy and compassion. The reading resonates the ever inspiring and reassuring words of Lord Jesus and incorporates the Ordination Motto of Dn. Nirmal – “You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit” (Jn. 15: 16).
Fr. Ajit Kumar Xess SJ, Provincial Superior, on behalf of the believing community, humbly requested His Lordship, Fulgence Tigga, to ordain Dn. Nirmal Minj SJ, a priest, even as the candidate’s Mother Clotilda Kujur and Brother Sanjay Minj, ceremonially offered him to the Church for the service of God and the humanity.
In his exhortation to Dn. Nirmal Minj SJ, the Bishop enunciated priesthood as amazing gift from God wherein the anointed one belongs to Christ, the High Priest, forever. Therefore, the priest’s attitude and behaviour must be like those of Christ – becoming alter Christus (another Christ), rising above all human frailty. It is possible only when he constantly desires and seeks the will of God in his life, reflects on the Word of God daily and believes and practices the same in his day-to-day living. He counseled him to follow the Good Shepherd as his model – “For the Son of Man has come not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk. 10: 45). Finally, the Prelate urged him to remain holy as Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High.
Sacerdotal ritual was performed in the presence of 46 priests, 2 Deacons and a fair-sized representation of religious sisters and the faithful in pursuance of the Covid-19 protocol. While proposing the vote of thanks, Fr. Nirmal Minj SJ was tear filled with a sense of gratitude. Yet he gradually composed himself enough for articulating his effusive sentiments. He thanked Bishop Fulgence Tigga, Diocesan Administrator, Rev. Fr. Linus Pingal Ekka, Jesuit Provincial, Fr. Ajit Kumar Xess, and all witnesses of the notable event. The Holy Mass was followed by a short break for refreshment before getting on with a creative and meaningful felicitation program.
Fr. Ajit Kumar Xess SJ, the Provincial Superior, during felicitation gratefully recalled the historic contribution of 545 missionaries (predominantly Belgians) towards constituting the Church in Chhotanagpur region. He commended their selfless service in sowing the seeds of faith and education in our land. He ascribed plentiful religious vocations in Chhotanagpur to their foresighted missionary endeavour. Fr Provincial thankfully recalled in particular the two remaining foreign missionaries, both Belgians, who are still alive in the province. He further invited the youngsters to respond to religious vocation, even to the extent of becoming missionaries in remote parts of the world. He concluded the felicitation note by thanking the Bishop, the Administrator, the Parish Priest, the family members of Fr. Nirmal and the entire gathering for their specific role in making the occasion special.
Fr. Ashok Sandil SJ
Secretary to the Provincial