“VITALIS, don’t preach yourself; let others see Christ in you.”
Townsville Bishop Michael Putney offered this advice to Deacon Vitalis Oguh at his ordination to the priesthood in a packed Sacred Heart Cathedral on February 6.
His brother Fr Cyriacus Ogu, a priest in San Bernadino, California, attended his ordination together with his brother Magnus Ogu and sister Bertha Abaegbu.
Bishop Putney celebrated the ordination, the diocese’s first since 2006, with priests from Townsville diocese concelebrating.
Holy Spirit Provincial Seminary rector Monsignor Tony Randazzo and the seminary’s spiritual director Carmelite Father Paul Chandler also concelebrated.
Bishop Putney’s homily offered inspiration to the newly-ordained priest and the rest of the congregation.
“Vitalis, imitate St Paul,” he said. “Preach Christ Jesus’ Law and nothing else.
“It’s only Christ the people can believe in; never any of us (priests).
“Only he can capture their hearts, imaginations and lives.”
It had been a long journey to the priesthood for Nigerian-born Fr Oguh. The last child in a family of seven children joined the Altar Servers Association of his home parish, St Charles Avuvu when he was seven.
In 1994, he started his high school education at Assumpta Minor Seminary, Naze-Owerri, and St Peter Claver Seminary, Okpala.
After two years of placements at the Archdiocesan Catholic Centre, and St Paul’s International Boys’ Secondary School, Owerri, young Vitalis was approved for one year spiritual formation in 2002 at the Assumpta Spiritual Year Seminary.
He was then assigned to Seat of Wisdom Seminary, Owerri, from 2003-12, to continue his formation to the priesthood.
He obtained a Bachelor of Philosophy (2007) and Bachelor of Divinity (2012) of the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.
Fr Oguh also gained a Bachelor of Arts degree (2012) in Religious Studies of the Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria.
He then left Nigeria for Australia, continuing his formation to the priesthood at the Holy Spirit Provincial Seminary for Townsville diocese and began his Masters in Theology at the Australian Catholic University Brisbane Campus.
Bishop Putney ordained him to the diaconate on August 1 last year.
For the past six months, Fr Oguh has been on pastoral placement at Mary Help of Christian Parish, North Ward. He will continue there as assistant parish priest.
A Thanksgiving Mass for Fr Oguh’s ordination was held at St Joseph’s, The Strand, on February 8.