Tumut Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception’s two priests come from two very places but are both on the same mission – to serve God.
Senior priest Father George Ogah is from Otukpo, Nigeria, and junior priest Father Namaro Anderson is from Canberra, and both have arrived here in 2018.
“In 2014 the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn requested three priests from my diocese to come over on a mission to their diocese,” Father George said.
“I was happy.”
Despite being from a vastly different country, speaking the language has not been a problem for him.
“English is a second language for us and it is what we use to study,” he said.
“Over there I worked as an assistant parish priest at St Mary’s parish in Otukpo (a town in the middle belt region of Nigeria) for six months then I became the chaplain of St Anne’s Chaplaincy for four years. I was more or less acting as a parish priest for the school and the parish.
“Then I came over to Australia, and was assistant parish priest of St Patrick’s parish Cooma.”
Her he became familiar with the Snowy Mountains communities.
Understandly, he found it a lot colder than Nigeria.
“The frost was a little bit difficult to get used to at first, but it was less crowded.”
He spent two years on the other side of the Snowies before arriving here in Tumut.
Not surprisingly, he likes it here.
“Tumut is a lovely place; there is less traffic than anywhere I have been,” he said.
“The people here are nice and supportive. It is a friendly town.”
Father Namaro was born and bred in Canberra, and he has only been a priest for three weeks.
This is his first posting as a qualified priest, but he is not daunted by the job.
“We are prepare for this, we know what we are getting ourselves into, we know what our duties are,” he said.
He also feels right at home in Tumut.
“I do have a fondness for country areas and Tumut is a country area,” he said.
Being a priest is not high on the list of career ambitions for most people, but for these two men it wasn’t a hard choice.
“It is just my desire to serve God better,” Father George said.
“There has to be a determination in your life that there is more than the physical,” Father Namaro said.
“And even if you have a Catholic upbringing, which I did, or not, there has to be a time when you think that maybe there is something more, and we know that intuitively in our hearts, that there is a spiritual world, which we consistently partake in. Once you are aware of it, you say ‘well what do I do now? What is God calling me to do?
“It really is to lead people back to God. God is a benevolent creature, not a malevolent creature; he really wants the best for us.”