By Michael Wojcik
NETCONG – Hard-won patience and perseverance have paid off for Father Abuchi Nwosu who was ordained a Paterson priest Saturday, May 24, 2007 – about 24 years after he started pursuing the priesthood.
The 35-year-old Father Nwosu’s bumpy road has hit many potholes since the native Nigerian entered St. Dominic Savior high school seminary as a boy. He hit another rut while applying for a student visa to the U.S. so he could finish his studies at St. Vincent College/Seminary in Latrobe, Pa.
Father Nwosu went for another interview at the U.S. embassy in Nigeria, which denied him a visa yet again. Frustrated, he nevertheless came up with an idea while praying – to write the embassy, mailing them supporting documents, asking for a second chance. Then, received an email from the U.S. embassy, asking him to come back for another interview, which claimed, “There is sufficient evidence for appeal.” After four frustrating years, the U.S. finally granted Nwosu a visa in 2004.
Father Nwosu traces his path to priesthood back to his native village of Nanka, near Lagos, Nigeria’s capital. He and his family – which included his late father Donatus, a teacher; his mother Felicia; and six siblings – attended Mass at St. Leo Parish regularly.It was just before his First Communion, when Father Nwosu first heard God’s call to priesthood. He got interested in consecrated life after listening to a talk by a seminarian, who encouraged the young people to become altar servers, which Father Nwosu had done at 9 years old.
Then, Father Nwosu entered St. Dominic Savoir high school seminary. After finishing his studies at St. John Bosco minor seminary, Father Nwosu served St. Michael Parish in Akwaeze. There, he prepared for Mass, taught catechism, visited the sick and delivered reflections at the meetings such parish ministries as the Legion of Mary.
Father Nwosu finished a year of spiritual studies, before entering Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu in Nigeria, which is affiliated with Urbaniana University, Rome. Then for three years, he taught English literature at St. Dominic’s, which helped him hone teaching skills he will need for the priesthood.
Father Nwosu arrived in the Altoona-Johnston Diocese in February 2005. In late 2006, he left Altoona-Johnston, before asking Bishop Serratelli to accept him as a seminarian of Paterson. Upon his arrival in the Paterson Diocese, he went to St. Michael’s, Netcong, where he taught catechism, worked with youth ministry, assisted at Mass and even delivered a presentation on his vocation for a young adult Theology on Tap presentation.
Recently, Father Nwosu served St. Bernard Clairvaux Parish in Indiana, Pa., as a deacon, preaching, assisting at Mass, baptizing and officating at weddings.