Brisbane (Agenzia Fides) - Every year the Australian archdiocese of Brisbane will receive two priests and two seminarians from Nigeria. The recent agreement was reached by Nigerian Bishop Lucius Ugorji of Umuahia diocese - presently visiting Australia - and Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane.
The bishops made an unprecedented act of “intercontinental twinning” dioceses in Oceania and Africa. To meet growing pastoral needs the Catholic archdiocese of Brisbane, in Queensland south east Australia has urgent need of more priests. This is why Archbishop John Bathersby, decided to ask the Nigerian diocese to give a hand. Umuahia diocese is rich in vocations, it has a community of 120,000 Catholics and 115 priests, whereas archdiocese Brisbane has 615,000 Catholics and 110 priests.
It was established that the African priests will start with a period of “inculturation” to familiarise with the Australian life style and mentality. They will remain in Australia for six years starting from 2007.
Fr. Peter Meneely, of Brisbane, explained that the seminarians, who have completed four years of formation in Nigeria, will continue their studies at Holy Spirit Seminary in Brisbane. Brisbane Catholics are enthusiastic, certain the African priests will give “new impulse to the community”. (Agenzia Fides 18/7/2006 righe 20 parole 202)