- Says good things come with huge sacrifice
The parish priest of St Cyril Catholic Church, Okota, Lagos. Rev. Father Martin Uwakwe, takes a look at his journey into the catholic priesthood. as he marks his 20th year as a priest, in this interview with tai anyanwu
Your are marking your 20th year of priesthood. How did your journey start?
I began this journey from the Okigwe Diocese. as a little boy,. I attended St. Peters Junior Seminary, Ihite. I later moved to St.Peters Okigwe from there, I went to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Spiritual Year Seminary, Ehime, Mbano in Imo State.
I studied philosophy and theology respectively in Seat of Wisdom Seminary and spent eight years, four years each, studying the two courses. In the year 2000, I was ordained a priest for Okigwe diocese and in the year 2002, I was transferred to Lagos, that was how I started the journey and I thank God for giving me the grace to remain steadfast in his vineyard.
What informed your choice to become a Rev. Father?
I’m must tell you that I’m very happy, fulfilled and satisfied being a Rev. Father. It is not just about me, it’s about answering a divine call from God. My mother made a vow to God, she told God that if He blesses her with sons, she would give one of them to him, out of the four sons of my mother, I am the only one that is a Rev. Father.
My mother made sure that all of us were close to God, out of all the children, I am the only one that is operating on this realm among all the children of my parents, despite the fact that we all attended seminary schools, I’m the only one that made it to priesthood. It gives me utmost joy and fulfilment, serving God, I am very elated about it.
How has the journey been as an ordained Catholic priest?
Thank you very much for this question, I must confess that it has challenges too, yet I’m really enjoying it because it is a path a chose. I have been very privileged to meet people who love me so much, people who will do anything for me just because I am doing the work of God.
Ordinarily, it wouldn’t have been possible. I must confess from the depth of my heart that I’m very fulfilled and I have absolutely no regrets, being a priest;to be very candid, I don’t see myself doing anything other work apart from this work of God I’m doing ,so I feel very fulfilled.
Could you take your 20 years of priest- hood?
I must tell you that as a priest, you are meant to move from one parish to another, from one station to another, the treatment and reception might not be the same, there might be some reservations because of tribe and other factors.
In the East where I came from, they love me dearly, my people here in this parish too love me so much, they have been showing me so much love.
The past twenty years of priesthood obviously must have challenges because as a human being, challenges are inevitable. I decided to celebrate my twenty years of priesthood because God has been so good to me and I’m very happy doing his work.
Is there any difference between the Catholic Church in the Eastern part of Nigeria and what is obtainable this part of the country?
The Catholic Church is the same all over the world and Nigeria is an exception.We might have cultural differences and be in different geopolitical zone; but there’s no disparity in our method of worship.
The Catholic Church is one, all over the world. when I was in Okigwe diocese, I know and I entertain this feeling that I’m at home because I’m from Imo State. But now that I’m in Lagos, though my people love me dearly, I cannot ignore the truth that this place is not my home, I’m only here to do the work of God.
What is the significance of today’s celebration?
The importance of this celebration is to thank God, for giving me to grace to remain a priest till today. Good things are not got easily, most times, you have to make huge sacrifices to obtain them, remaining a priest for the past twenty years is obviously worth celebrating.
I pray that God will continue to be my guide as I continue to do his work