Nigerian priests to head for Queensland

Following a visit to Brisbane by Nigerian Bishop Lucius Ugorji of Umuahia diocese, Brisbane archdiocese will receive two priests and four seminarians each year from Nigeria.

The Catholic Leader reports that the plan seeks to help alleviate a serious shortage of priests in south-east Queensland.

The agreement with Umuahia diocese in Nigeria was finalised on 4 July at the end of a five-day visit to Brisbane by Bishop Ugorji.

The pilot program is for six years, starting in 2007.

For the first three years Brisbane will welcome two Nigerian priests each year, two seminarians who will be trained for Umuahia diocese and two other seminarians who will be trained and eventually ordained for Brisbane archdiocese.

Archdiocesan Moderator Fr Peter Meneely said all the seminarians will have completed at least four years of formation in Nigeria and will undertake further studies through Holy Spirit Seminary in Brisbane.

The Nigerian priests and seminarians will also undergo a six-month immersion program on arrival in Australia.

Fr Meneely said the program would be co-ordinated by Holy Spirit Seminary rector Fr Michael McCarthy.

Fr McCarthy said the agreement to bring priests and seminarians from Nigeria would "add new life to the archdiocese" and he was looking forward to training the seminarians.

Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane, who signed the agreement with Bishop Ugoriji, said he was delighted to be entering into this partnership with Umuahia diocese.

According to the Catholic Leader, the first group of Nigerians is expected to arrive early next year.

Nigeria to send priests (Catholic Leader 14/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
History of Catholic Church in Nigeria (Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria)

Brisbane opts for priests out of Africa (CathNews 17/3/06)
Nigerian archbishop offers to take place of woman condemned to death by stoning (CathNews 27/2/02)

14 Jul 2006