Left: The new Roman Catholic priest serving the Clearwater to Valemount area is Boniface Ogbenna. Originally from Nigeria, he has been in Canada since 2013. Photo by Keith McNeill

New Catholic priest is from Nigeria

Clearwater and Valemount have a new Roman Catholic priest

By Keith McNeill

Clearwater and Valemount have a new Roman Catholic priest.

Boniface Ogbenna started working in the Robson Valley last April and in the upper North Thompson Valley in August.

“I stay in Clearwater every other week,” he explained. “One Sunday we will have early morning mass in Clearwater. I travel to Blue River and say mass there at 2 p.m. Then I go to Valemount and do mass in the late afternoon. The following week the process is reversed – the early morning mass is in Valemount, Blue River is at 2, and the afternoon mass is in Clearwater.”

Originally from Imo state in southeast Nigeria, Ogbenna came to Canada in 2013.

He has met Dr. Kayode Bamidboje, one of Clearwater’s two new physicians, he said. Dr. Kay is also from Nigeria but from a different part.

READ MORE: Two new doctors coming to Clearwater (Aug. 27, 2017)

Apparetly there is a shortage of North Americans going into the priesthood but not so much in Africa.

An invitation to serve in the Kamloops area was forwarded to him through his bishop in Nigeria.

He stayed in Kamloops for nine months, Williams Lake for two years and five months, and then was in Merritt for seven months.

During his stay in Canada he has managed to return to visit his relatives in Nigeria three times.

Getting used to winter is still a challenge, he says.

“Any Nigerian who travels knows about snow but otherwise the closest they can come is opening the door to the freezer,” he said.

He has learned to dress warmer for the cold and to keep active during the winter.

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