FR Anthony Ekpo had never imagined that God would lead him to be a priest in Australia.
The Nigerian-born associate pastor at St Stephen’s Cathedral was one of four seminarians selected to “fan the flame of faith” in the Brisbane archdiocese in 2007.
That agreement between the Nigerian Bishop Lucius Ugorji of Umuahia and the then Archbishop of Brisbane John Bathersby to send the first group of Nigerian seminarians to Brisbane, has changed the face of the Australian Church.
Fr Ekpo shared his journey of “dislocation”, moving out of comfort in Nigeria to Australia, at Faith on Tap on January 14.
“When I was told I was coming to Australia, I thought it was Austria – that was how ignorant I was,” he said.
“And I couldn’t bare the thought of learning German.”
Fr Ekpo said it was his joyful and proud Catholic faith, shared by 20 million other committed Nigerian Catholics, which gave him comfort in adjusting to life in a new country.
“That’s what convinced me to go beyond my country and to Australia, and our presence here has changed the face of Australia,” he said.
“I am part of the changing face of the Church in Brisbane.”
Fr Ekpo said he and other priests and seminarians who have come from beyond Australian shores were here to “ignite the fire of faith”.
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