Father Rowland Nwokocha I
Celebrating 25 years as a Priest
*By Colleen Smith*
CELEBRATING TWENTY FIVE YEARS AS A PRIEST
By Colleen Smith
Father Rowland is celebrating 25 years as a priest! The announcement of his silver jubilee will, no doubt, be in our diocesan newsletter and celebrated with great joy in his home community in Nigeria. We here, in our small church community want to rejoice with him as well. Following mass on August 6th we are having a reception for him, and we want to invite all of you to join us.
For those that don’t know him, Father Rowland is worthy of celebrating. One would not expect to come to a town of 5,000 people and find such a dynamic and inspirational evangelist. Too often, parish priests offer comfortable homilies that tell us what we want to hear. Not Fr. Rowland. He makes us squirm in our seats, a little, and, most importantly, makes us think about how to be better disciples.
A visitor from Pennsylvania inspired by Fr. Rowland wrote to him and saying, “….Over the last two years my local parish has had luke-warm messages being preached. The you’re OK, I’m OK, everyone is OK kind of message, where there is no penance, no hell spoken of…. I came to mass last Saturday expecting the same local parish feel as back home with the same feel good message with no substance. I was blown away by you, your preaching, your relatability, and the general atmosphere of sanctity. I felt fed when I left…. I wanted to say thank you. You should and could be leading thousands in a large parish, but you are where the spirit has put you for good reason. Thank you, thank you thank you! Stand strong as a priest and know that you are touching souls.”
A visitor from North Dakota wrote Fr. Rowland saying, “We thank you so much for preaching truth. Our world so needs to see the truth being proclaimed and sufferings met with joy.”
One of our own parishioners recently wrote, “ Moab is a very fortunate community to have a priest as passionate about spreading the word of God as you. Thank you for everything you do for the parish. My family and I are extremely grateful for your presence.”
And you know Father is doing a good job when a fellow priest from Nevada writes, “I thoroughly enjoyed the service, and your Homily was spot on. I wanted to let you know, as a brother Priest, your are doing a great job.”
Not only are his homilies inspiring but he’s an excellent steward of our parish. By asking visitors to support his mission at St. Pius X donations have exceeded the annual income of the parish. Even with dwindling participation from his registered parishioners. This achievement was noticed by the office of the vicar general congratulating him on his success. Fr. Rowland also cares for our church facility with enthusiasm and lots of help from his parishioners and faithful benefactors. He envisioned, arranged and coordinated such activities as the installation of new carpeting and the replacement of our fence.
As his parishioners prepare for his silver jubilee celebration on August 6th let us reflect on Fr. Rowland’s ministry here at St. Pius X. As father demonstrates at the beginning of mass almost everyone here is a visitor. His powerful and inspiring messages are then taken back to all corners of the globe. A quote from Mark, Chapter 16 verse 15, “He said to them, Go throughout the whole world and preach the gospel to all people.” Father Rowland is indeed doing that, but in the unique position that people from all over the world come to him.
Please pray for Father Rowland and join us on August 6th at 5 PM for mass and the reception. If you can’t come please consider sending a note of support.
Some Images from the Jubilee Mass and Dinner
Above: Father Rowland gives the homily at Mass.
Above: Father Rowland and Bishop Solis: Consecration at Mass
Above: Father Rowland during Jubilee Mass
Above: Colleen serves up the Jubilee dinner. It would not have been possible without her.
Also pictured is our choir soprano Joann.
A special thanks to Colleen Smith, Joana Fry, Karen Osusky, Melinda Calderon and Tasha Thiede from Father Rowland appears below following these photos.
Above: Father Rowland with his mother who was in attendance.
By Father Rowland Nwokocha I
A NOTE OF APPRECIATION TO MY PARISHIONERS
My dear parishioners,
I wish to express my sincere appreciation to you all for the prayers and support you sent my way as I celebrated the 25th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. May the good Lord bless you and your loved ones.
I would like mention several parishioners who were outstanding in making sure everything went well: Colleen Smith, Joana Fry and Karen Osusky for all the sacrifices they made in planning for this special celebration. Special thanks to Melinda Calderon and Tasha Thiede for their hospitality. Members of the Choir, Ed,Brooks, Barb, Mary, JoAnn, Robert and Nancy, I cannot thank you enough for your sacrifices.
Thank you and may God bless you all.
Father Rowland Nwokocha
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