ARUA. Arua Bishop Sabino Ocan Odoki has conducted his first open mass at Ediofe Cathedral since last year’s September 22 riots where a group of irate Christians in Arua attempted to evict him.
During the colourful mass, which he presided over uninterrupted, Bishop Odoki ordained five priests and six deacons.
He had also absconded masses traditionally reserved for the bishop at the Cathedral on Christmas Day and the New Year.
During the mass, he appeared to have opened old wounds when he suggested that the public should bring priests to him for deployment.
“Priests may be given responsibility by the bishop for any of the works the bishop asks to do. Bishop shares his work with the priests and these ones I’m going to ordain here today, I’m going to appoint them straight away,” he said.
“So if a priest says he is not appointed or what, he is liar, the bishop is waiting to appoint because it’s his right to appoint, so if you find any priest without appointment, send him to the bishop, I’m waiting, the work is so much.”
“Jesus said the harvest is great, but the labourers are few, so we should not be wasting time. If you find a priest wasting time, please tell him you are wasting time, God is sending people to the vineyard, go to the bishop to give you work, we need sacraments, guidance, we need to hear the word of God.”
Reacting to the bishop’s homily, Fr Nakari Adiga, one of the priests who sued the bishop over allegations of unlawful suspension and lack of welfare, called it a mockery saying Bishop Odoki enjoys seeing people suffer.
“He should first review his administration, remove the soldiers and police from his residence which he has turned into barracks so that when we come, we can discuss these issues with sober minds. Besides, he is not only in conflict with priests, there are other religious leaders and Christians also,” Fr Adiga said.
Fr Adiga referred to Bishop Odoki as a ‘pathological liar’ and ‘dishonest man’ who could not be trusted on his word and one who wants to thrive on tribalism to malign others.
Security remains tight around the bishop’s residence and the cathedral. Police and other security agencies have been patrolling the area since September last year when a group of Christians rioted over the death of Bishop Emeritus Fredrick Drandua, accusing Bishop Odoki of neglecting the deceased and maladministration.