AS a boy in Nigeria, Tony Oboshi celebrated “Mass” with his sister after school and dreamed of becoming a Catholic priest.
That dream came true on Saturday when he was ordained by the Bishop of Wagga, Gerard Hanna, in St Michael’s Cathedral.
Making the event more special for the 33-year-old was the presence of his parents, Paulinus and Christiana, who travelled from Nigeria for the most important event in their son’s life.
“It made my joy complete for them to come all the way from Nigeria to donate me to the church,” Father Tony said as the enormity of the weekend sunk in.
Fr Tony said a number of people inspired him to become a priest.
They include his uncle, who is also a priest (Fr Jude, in Nigeria) and his first parish priest, Fr Godwin Ikeobi.
“As a little boy he encouraged us to serve at the altar. He left a vivid impression on me,” Fr Tony said.
Returning to school after his uncle’s ordination in 1989, young Tony Oboshi was asked to write a composition on the subject of what he would like to be when he grew up.
Uplifted by what he had just witnessed, he wrote he wanted to be a priest.
For most of his life, Fr Tony has been in religious education or training, although he did work in logistics in Nigeria in 2008 and then completed a diploma course in business administration in Malaysia before undertaking a Masters in Business Administration and then teaching English in Thailand.
In 2012 he joined the Vianney College seminary in Wagga to complete his training as a priest.
He has had two stints at Our Lady of Fatima Parish at South Wagga over the past three years and celebrated his Mass of Thanksgiving there on Sunday after being ordained.
The Mass was followed by a major celebration in the Henscke Primary School hall.
“It was awesome,” Fr Tony said of the celebration, which was a mix of Australian and Nigerian food and culture.
“Our Lady of Fatima will always have a big place in my heart.
“The people of the parish have opened their hearts and homes to me.
“It feels like your family taking care of you there.”
Fr Tony is now showing his parents Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney before flying out to Nigeria with them for Christmas.
He will celebrate another Mass of Thanksgiving in his home city of Awgbu on January 3.
Up to 1000 people are expected to attend the Mass.
His first appointment in the Diocese of Wagga early next year will be as assistant priest at Leeton.
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