Nairobi, 15 October, 2019 / 1:36 am (ACI Africa).
In a country where the reciprocal interaction between Catholicism and culture still presents difficulties, with society playing a central role in shaping individual lives through family and peer pressure, a South Sudanese cleric has shared with ACI Africa the challenges he had to overcome on his journey to priesthood as he celebrates 50 years since he received the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
“In my journey to priesthood, I met many challenges. The first formidable challenge I met was from my father. He wanted me to become a medical doctor,” the former Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Torit in South Sudan, Mons. Thomas Oliha Attiyah told the congregation at the Apostles of Jesus Shrine, Langata in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi Sunday, October 13.
“I told him (my father) I have a vocation to become a priest,” Mons. Oliha recalled telling his father who would react in dismay, “A priest? And you will have no children? No this is an unacceptable.”
Mons. Oliha who was addressing clergy, women and men religious and laity on his golden jubilee of priesthood celebration recalled his father’s temporary punishment saying, “He refused to pay the school fees at the minor seminary.”
His father would later change his mind and respect his son’s decision. The 71-year-old priest of the congregation of the Apostles of Jesus Missionaries recalled his father saying, “If God is calling, you go and become a priest.”