The Baptist Christian who became a Catholic Priest

15 Years A Catholic; A Year Priest: The Baptist Christian who Became a Catholic Priest.

“… Lord, let me remain here!”

He was not born a Catholic, neither was his entire family. They were all Baptists and that is where he grew up. His mom was a good Baptist Christian. He never liked the Catholic Church and he didn’t see anything good coming out of the Catholic Church, yet he became a priest.

It all started when his brother Sunny Dennis who was taken to stay with an Igbo Catholic family, from Imo State, as an apprentice. The family loved him and took him as a son. The relationship made Sunny to join the family as a Catholic. Thus, Sunny became the first to be a Catholic from his family.

So while staying with his brother in the same the family, his brother was settled but still lived with them to do his own business; he was neither forced to be a Catholic nor to join them to the church.

In one of the lenten periods, he followed one of the sons to the Stations of the Cross as they normally do in the Ecclesiastical Diocese of Bemenda. As the Station of the Cross was going, he was only watching without having interest in any thing going on.

Later at home, he decided after some thoughts to follow them to church on Sunday, to see what they do actually do there. Moreover, he noted that this Sunday was different because normally, while staying with the family, on Sundays as they go to the Catholic church for mass, he himself goes to the baptist Church.

On that fateful at mass, he observed how the priest says something and people responded intermittently; the sitting, standing, kneeling and singing. He was really attracted to the beauty of the whole liturgy, especially the singing. The Xylophone was working wonders. The singing of the priest got his attention. By then, he never thought about being a Catholic priest. But, he enjoyed the liturgy.

In 2006, during the Episcopal consecration of Msgnr George Nkuo of the diocese of Congo, the now Bishop of Kumbo Diocese, he saw many priests and seminarians, the singing, and his heart was set on fire that he wanted to be like this people, he wanted to sit up there.

How could he sit up there? Was he a Catholic? Does he even understand what was going? Those things didn’t matter to him then, what mattered was that he enjoyed the beauty of the whole Liturgy.

When he got home, he started having the thought of becoming a priest, the fire was lit. The Liturgy was already alive in him who was not Catholic. Indeed, the “wind” blows wherever it pleases. Something was going within this soul; Christ was calling through the worshipping assembly, for Christ is present in the worshipping assembly at mass.

He relayed the urge to his brother’s friend who is an Igbo. The friend told him that if he wants to be a priest, he has to be baptized in the Catholic Church and enter the Catholic seminary. The friend later told his own brother, his friend about the whole vocation push.

In the same 2006, he was enrolled into the catechism classes and was taught by a seminarian who today is not a priest. He was baptized and received his first holy communion from the beautiful hands of a priest, Fr. Edward Lukong, at St. Jude’s Parish Mbve, Diocese of Congo.

He joined the altar servers, and for him, his best time was whenever he serves at mass. Nevertheless, whenever he wears the altar servers vestment, he would always say this pray: “Lord, while I serve at mass, let someone see me serving at mass in this vestment and be converted.” What a prayer; what a heart! It was indeed a joyful moment whenever he serves at mass.

But whenever he was serving at mass, he says “Lord, let me remain here.” Would he remain or not? That was the question?

He moved forth to remain such that in his high school, he was enrolled into St. Aloysius Minor Seminary where he obtained his advanced level, after two years.

Moreso, not relenting he applied to the Diocese of Mamfe, Cameroon and got accepted. He went to his Spiritual Year at the then Blessed Henry Newman Spiritual centre. Later, he was enrolled at St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, Bambui Cameroon to study philosophy, for three years.

Later, he was sent to do “a year” pastoral experience at Holy Spirit Parish Ntale, Diocese of Mamfe, South West Region, Cameroon.

In all these struggle to remain, even his local ordinary, Bishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya wanted him to remain for God and therefore sent him to study Theology in Nigeria from 2017 to 2021– four years, at the prestigious Blessed Iwene Tansi Major Seminary, Onitsha, under the custody of the great Shepherd, Most Rev. Archbishop Valerian M. Okeke, the Archbishop of Onitsha.

He was ordained a priest on the 10th of July, 2021 by His Grace, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, the Archbishop of Onitsha, at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha.

Even now, his mum, his sisters and some of his brothers are still not Catholic, yet he remains.

Now, he is 16years and six months a Catholic and a year and six months a Catholic priest. He has remained on the Altar as he asked the Lord and he shall remain Rev. Fr. Sunde Roger Tata. A priest in the order of Melchizedek, Diocese of Mamfe Cameroon.

And coincidentally, today is his birthday. Happy birthday Fr. Sunde Roger Tata. Fr. Muonso

© Fada Henry Charles Umelechi

Truth Series.

Leave a Reply

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on print
Share on telegram