AIRPLANES might take Dominic Orichukwu from Australia to his home country Nigeria, but it was “on eagle’s wings” that the 30 year old found his calling to the priesthood.
After entering the seminary at 12, the Nigerian-born was ordained a priest with 12 other Nigerians in his home diocese of Umuahia, Nigeria on Saturday, July 25.
Redcliffe parish priest Fr John Conway, who knew Fr Orichukwu when he was on a yearlong placement in the parish, was among the clergy who laid hands on the new priest.
Fr Orichuckwu told The Catholic Leader shortly after his ordination that he was filled with “joy and amazement”.
“I am humbled by the way God has continued to work in my life beyond my imagination,” Fr Orichuckwu said.
“He has carried me on eagles wings, even while I slumber he continued to shower his blessings upon me.
“Everything I am is a gift from Him.
“The gift of the Catholic priesthood is an unmerited gift, and I’m grateful to Him who can do in us more than we can think or imagine.”
He is ordained for the Umuahia diocese but will serve at least three years in the Brisbane archdiocese.
Fr Orichuckwu is the fifth of six children and began his priestly formation at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Nigeria.
He spent five years completing a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the Urban University, Rome and Imo State University in Owerri, Nigeria.
He arrived in Australia in 2011 to complete his seminary studies at Holy Spirit Provincial Seminary.
Fr Orichuckwu served his parish placements in Hendra, Noosa, Southport, Redcliffe and Murgon.
Last year he founded Redcliffe parish’s first youth group, Connect Youth, just before his diaconate ordination.
“I pray that God will continue to inspire me and give me the grace so that my heart will always beat for Him as I do my priestly ministry,” he said.
Redcliffe parish priest Fr John Conway travelled to Nigeria for the ordination.
Fr Orichuckwu thanked Umuahia Bishop Lucius Ugorji, Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, seminary formators, friends and family.
“I remain ever grateful for your support,” he said.
“The gifts of your prayers, presence, love and generosity have continued to lead me through.
“To all those who wished to be present on my ordination but couldn’t, your prayers is being felt.
“My prayers for everyone is that the almighty God will continue to bless you all; may He protect, guide and lead you in the path of peace, love and flourishing in the way He has designed for you.
“May you be rest assured that God is not finished with you yet.
“He is always with you and will continue to be with you.
“Thank you for your support and may God bless you. Remember, you’re awesome!”
Fr Orichuckwu returns to Brisbane on September 3 and will serve in Sunnybank parish for the next three years.