Brisbane's first Nigerian seminarians arrive

After a gruelling 75 hour journey, the first batch of four Nigerian seminarians recruited to alleviate a priest shortage in the Brisbane archdiocese have arrived to continue their training.

The reports that the four seminarians arrived at Holy Spirit Seminary in Brisbane on 9 February after the three-day transit, tired but excited to continue their priestly formation in a foreign land.

The arrival of Edward Agwara, 33, John Echewodo, 30, Augustine Obi, 26, and Anthony Ekpo, 25, is the result of an agreement signed in Brisbane last year between Archbishop John Bathersby and Bishop Lucius Ugorji of Umuahia diocese.

Bishop Ugorji has offered the archdiocese four seminarians and two priests for the next three years to assist with evangelisation and vocations promotion.

The Nigerians have boosted the number of seminarians in Queensland to 11, but the figure is small compared to the pool of surplus priests and seminarians in Nigeria.

Holy Spirit Seminary rector Fr Michael McCarthy said when he visited Umuahia diocese a year ago with archdiocesan Moderator Fr Peter Meneely they discovered the local provincial seminary had 630 enrolled seminarians.

Fr McCarthy said Archbishop Bathersby's intention had been to increase the archdiocese's clergy and involve the young Nigerian priests in the formation of young people.

Holy Spirit Seminary has also welcomed another two seminarians this year, Queenslander Luke Watts, 28, and Nigel Sequeira, 40, from Kuwait.

Nigerian seminarians arrive (Catholic Leader, 18/2/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Brisbane
History of Catholic Church in Nigeria (Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria)
Holy Spirit Seminary Queensland

Two years wait for overseas priests, Bishop says (CathNews, 6/12/06)
Overseas priests wanted for Hunter Valley harvest: Bishop Malone (CathNews, 21/8/06)
Nigerian priests to head for Queensland (CathNews, 14/7/06)
Maitland-Newcastle weighs priest imports (CathNews, 23/3/06)
Brisbane opts for priests out of Africa (CathNews, 17/3/06)
NCP chair says overseas priests will need help to settle (CathNews 16/5/05)
Bishop calls priest crisis a media beat-up (CathNews, 3/3/05)

16 Feb 2007