Father George Ogah celebrated 10 years since his ordination with a Mass with the Tumut Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception community on Sunday.
After the Mass, a well-attended brunch was held at the church hall.
Father George, who has been here for two-and-half years, was planning to celebrate the 10 years with his family in Nigeria, but Covid-19 regulations kept him in Australia.
“God wanted me here to celebrate,” he said.
Father George comes from a family with eight brothers and eight sisters and previously preached at St Francis of Assisi parish in Otukpo, in Nigeria. After that, he became the chaplain of St Anne’s Chaplaincy for four years, more or less acting as a parish priest for a school and parish.
Father George was ordained in Nigeria by Canberra and Goulburn Archbishop Christopher Prowse, and it was Archbishop Prowse who asked him to come to Australia.
When he did, he was based at Cooma before coming to Tumut, where he is the parish priest for Tumut, Adelong, Batlow, Talbingo and Gundagai, serving alongside Father Nemora Anderson.
He’s very happy to be here in Tumut.
“Tumut is a lovely place,” he said.
“Before I came here I was told that the weather is cold but the people are warm, and I have found this to be true.
“It is by divine providence that I am here, and I thank God, my family all those people who have supported me through the years.”
Father George has made a good connection with his parishioners and feels more at home every day.
“I know people more, and I am more connected,” he said.
He acknowledges that the priesthood has its challenges.
“What you want, you don’t always get, but when God gives to you, he gives you the best.”
St Vincent de Paul Rosalie Rendu Conference President Pat Mangelsdorf said it was wonderful having Father George at the church and in the community.
“As well as having a good grasp of English, he has a great love for people and a very positive outlook,” she said.
“He understands people and encourages them to be hopeful. He understands our lives are not always easy, but instils hope in us.
“Where there is disunity in the church community, he does his level best to get people to move on and not harbour resentment.”
Mrs Mangelsdorf said Father George appealed to and was interested in people of all age groups.