Priestly Ordinations 

15 August 2017

We apologize for the delay in updating the web page after the ordinations of Fr. Charles Ike, FSSP. Things have finally taken on a normal rhythm again since the ordinations over a month and a half ago.


On August 15th, 2017, Bishop Gregory Ochiagha ordained Reverend Mr. Charles Ike, FSSP to the holy priesthood. With the sun shining and over two thousand people in attendance from at least eight different countries, this historic three-hour ceremony transpired without any mishap, either electrical or liturgical, a great achievement anywhere, let alone Nigeria! But this blissful day at Nne Enyemaka Ebebe Parish came only after much hard work, loads of stress, and, most importantly, a lot of prayer.

Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian author, once said, “Only a madman with an exuberant taste for self-violence will pick Nigeria for a holiday…No, Nigeria may be a paradise for adventurers and pirates, but not tourists!” The twelve westerners who made the journey to the FSSP’s parish in Imo State found this out first hand. Eight seminarians and four laymen spent four weeks in the village of Umuaka where they got a taste of the somewhat chaotic Nigerian life while preparing for Fr. Charles Ike’s ordination.

The westerners quickly settled in amid the apparent disorder and got to work. They soon found many wonderful qualities about life in Nigeria: the church and priests were clearly the center of these people’s lives and in such a natural way; children would wander in and out of the parish compound;  people constantly came for catechism and the sacraments; and all were as comfortable as if it were their own home. Moreover, the foreigners received as other members of their family. Daily music lessons for the entire parish, server training, catechism for the many different groups at the church, and a constant comparing and contrasting of cultures filled the days leading up to the ordination.

Nigerian food was often an interesting experience: snails, malt, fried termites and “fufu” were a few of the more memorable entrées, not to mention the cow intestine soup and “bush meat” (Don’t ask what it is; not even the locals can tell you). The safety standards on the construction site of the new church were also noteworthy: the sight of men, barefoot and without safety-helmets or harnesses, climbing sixty feet off the ground with a welder in hand to secure the trusses of the church was almost as distressing as the molten balls of metal that dripped down from their work; 2x4s being jettisoned from the roof; scaffolding being precariously (and sometimes unsuccessfully) carried across the work site, all without any sort of safety protocol except maybe the occasional “look out!”. It all gave the westerners a bit of a shock. But amid the craziness of the frantic push to complete the church in time for the ordination, the seminarians were still able to help the parish have beautiful solemn masses on Sundays, and even a weeklong boys summer camp.

Everyone’s stress levels began to peak with the ordination only five days away and some monumental tasks still to be finished. The massive church had no roof to cover it from the almost daily rainstorms; there was no clear idea as to how the electricity was going to get to the church; the seminarian in charge of the ordination ceremonies was wondering about how, where, and when he would have the bishop’s throne, crozier and, most importantly, an altar for him to say Mass! But, despite the unpredictable weather and strained working conditions, everyone’s hope began to rise as they watched the roof tiles slowly began to cover the roof of the church. Within two days tiles covered the church’s roof almost entirely over the nave, an altar had been built, a throne had been promised, and decorations for the sanctuary had been procured.

August fourteenth, the day before the ordination, started off well with most of the parishioners on hand to help prepare all that still needed to be done. Sanctuary decorations were being put into place while the church was being cleaned and Mass serving practice was being held. Everything was coming together until about 11am when the first of many absolutely torrential downpours began. Within a minute the freshly swept Church was completely flooded, water pouring in from the unfinished roof. Anyone able to grab a broom frantically swept the water out, only to see the church inundated again by another downpour. The server practice carried on, the seminarian MC all the while cognizant of the still-missing throne. A large sound system had been hired for the ordination; there was, however, still no electricity, and the electrician who had been originally in charge of wiring the church was too sick to be there. Things were not looking good. Preparations for the large party, nevertheless, went on as the rain continued to flood the church throughout the rest of the day. As all the westerners went to bed that night, nothing was certain. Many prayers were said.

The Igbo parishioners, however, did not go to sleep that night. The final rain fell sometime in the middle of the night; the faithful of Nne Enyemaka Shrine stayed in the new church, sweeping out the water until the seminarians awoke on ordination morning to find a church, completely swept and dry with all the pews in place. Locals started to trickle into the parish compound around 7:30am. With the sky still brooding, the choir began to practice. Soon hundreds and then thousands were inside of and surrounding the church, waiting to see a Mass which they had only ever heard about but never experienced.

When 9 a.m. came around, the proposed time for the start of the ordination Mass, the church was totally packed with excited Nigerians, Cameroonians, Ghanaians, along with religious from different western countries, ready to see the almost legendary Bishop Gregory Ochiagha process in. But 9 a.m. came and went, then 9:05, and then 9:15, and still no beginning procession, no organ playing in the background, no nothing! Why? The bishop wasn’t there yet! and there was no telling when he would actually show up. As the minutes painfully ticked by, the seminarians who were waiting for the bishop noticed that they hadn’t heard any organ playing that morning; they didn’t know that there was a frantic scramble up in the choir loft to get the inexplicably defunct sound system working! They also noticed the MC was missing; he had gone to find a throne for the bishop! The MC, running back from another local church with a throne, however, saw to his surprise that two Africans were carrying a throne up the steps of the church; exasperated, he only got more of a shock when he turned around to see two more men behind him running with a third throne towards the church! Just as the issue of the missing throne was resolved, Bishop Ochiagha pulled into the compound; it was nine-thirty.

As the bishop began to vest, tones from the organ began to ring throughout the church, and the sun came out. The Mass servers took their positions, and at nine forty-five, the ordination Mass finally began. From that moment on, there was not a single hiccup. The bishop during his sermon admonished the more than two thousand assembled laity, priests and religious to watch the Mass carefully and learn from it. The choir, composed of Fraternity seminarians and some of the local Nigerians, directed by the Fraternity seminary’s music teacher, sang a Mass like none of the people there had ever heard before. After three hours, Reverend Charles Ike was now Father Charles Ike, and everyone in attendance was overjoyed to have been part of the historic event.

Father Ike’s first Mass was equally beautiful, and a tour of Solemn Masses around the area at local churches filled the days, attracting thousands. There were many more stories and so much fruit which is already able to be seen from all of the events this summer at Nne Enyemaka Shrine, but those will be told in subsequent columns. Thank you to all those who gave any support for the events this summer! The full extent of the impact that this historic ordination will have on Nigeria and the whole of Africa remains to be seen, but the parishioners of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Shrine in Umuaka, Imo State, Nigeria are forever grateful.


Traditional Latin Mass at the Cathedral


11 August 2016



From July 31st until August 10, 2016, Nne Enyemaka parish held its first of hopefully many annual boys’ summer camp, Camp St. Patrick. Thirty-two boys from the parish, as well as surrounding villages and cities, came out for the ten days, none knowing what to expect since summer camps are virtually unheard of here! The boys, however, quickly learned the ins-and-outs of how camp works; after being divided into four teams, many excelled in sports, games, flag-making, skits, camp fire singing and especially catechism, all the while competing for the Saint Patrick Cup. They also enjoyed three outings to a nearby zoo, the Biafra War Museum and to Holy Trinity Cathedral in Onitsha, where the body of Nigeria’s only Blessed (Blessed Tansi, the camp’s co-patron) is housed. The ten days were completely packed with activities, and they ended with a hard fought victory by Team St. James. The first annual Camp Saint Patrick was a great success, and we look forward to having the boys back again next year for an even better time.  See pictures here.


Traditional Latin Mass at the Cathedral

7 April 2016

For the Year of Mercy, Nne Enyemaka Ebebe Parish walked 14 miles on a pilgramage from the Nne Enyemaka Shrine to Holy Trinity Cathedral in Orlu so that the parishioners might gain the plenary indulgence attached to entering the doors of the Cathedral.  The Pilgramage took place on March 19th, the Feast of St. Joseph.  Over 200 people processed, praying the rosary the whole way with hymns inbetween the mysteries.  Many confessions were heard so that all might receive the plenary indulgence, and also as a preparation for the upcoming Holy Week.  His Lorsdhip, the Reverend Doctor Augustine T. Ukwuoma, the Bishop of Orlu diocese, granted permission for the Traditional Mass to be offered at the High Altar of the Cathedral at the end of the procession.  It was the first such Mass ever offered there as the Diocese was created after the changes to the Liturgy.  Upon entering the Cathedral, a group of 50 children studying for their First Communion joined the parishioners of Nne Enyemaka and witnessed the Tridentine Mass for the first time.



Website Updates

14 November 2015

Our website has a few pages that have been added recently, and the Current Events page (found on the bottom of the Navigation Pane to the left) is usually updated weekly.  There is a page for Medical Assistance, which shows some of the work that the Fraternity contributes to here in Nigeria.  There is a page for St. Michael the Archangel School, which is in its second month of existence.  There is now a page dedicated to the farm life here at the parish.  There are also updates regarding the building of the church which can be found on the Construction of a Traditional Church tab on the left.  As we resume, at a greater pace, the construction of the church, we welcome those who know concrete work, want to donate a month or two of their time, and wish to visit Nigeria.  We want to thank all of our benefactors for all they have done for the Parish.  A lot has been donated already for the construction of the church, and though we still have a ways to go, things are progressing daily.  The Parish has many things going on, and so we will try to keep each of the pages updated on a regular basis.  Please browse through them, and the photo galleries, to get a view of life here at Nne Enyemake Ebebe Parish.



St. Michael the Archangel School has begun!

5th October, 2015

Nne Enyemaka Ebebe Parish has started a small boys school under the patronage of St. Michael the Archangel, who is the secondary patron of the Parish.  After a Votive Mass of the Holy Ghost for the beginning of a new school year, classes began on Monday, October 5th.  The boys will take classes in English, Math, Science, Latin, Scripture, Catechism, History, Agricultural Theory, and Music.  They will learn how to farm crops, as well as assist with the pigs, chickens, and turkeys.  The day begins with Lauds, followed by a reading from Sacred Scripture, and Holy Mass.  Classes, six per day, begin at 8:45 after breakfast and chores.  After an hour of farming, they will attend Vespers and the Rosary.  The day ends with Compline in the Chapel and the boys retire after a blessing from Father.  We have started with humble beginnings with the hope that this will flourish here in Nigeria.

Album of the Opening of the School