The New dispensation of what we now know as Igbo Catholic Community began in July of 2009 when Rev. Fr. Joseph Oji, CSSP came to the Diocese of Raleigh. Fr. Oji was ordained to the Catholic Priesthood in 1995, worked in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and the USA. He speaks three languages, namely: Igbo, English and Shona. As Chaplain to the Igbo Catholic Community in Raleigh, Catholic Campus Minister (Chaplain) at North Carolina Central University, Durham, and Spiritual Director to Board of Trustees to Birth, he shoulders the responsibility of organizing and mentoring Catholic faith to all people, especially Igbos.
Between 2006 and 2009, prior to Fr. Oji’s arrival, two vibrant Catholic communities were organized and worshipped at the Sacred Heart Cathedral parish and St. Joseph Catholic Church in Raleigh. The Nigerian Igbo Catholic Community at Sacred Heart consisted of different Nigerian ethnic groups who celebrated liturgy and music in different Nigerian languages and the Igbo Catholic Community at St. Joseph celebrate Liturgy in only Igbo language. After a wide consultation and negotiation with the stakeholders and interest groups, the two communities merged in 2011 to form what is now known as Igbo Catholic Community. Since Catholic Masses are assigned by languages and not by nationality, it was the decision of the Bishop of Raleigh to celebrate Mass in Igbo language.
Since the merger, the community have grown from less than 50 families during its inception to over 120 families in the last 8years. With two permanent Igbo priests (Fr. Greg Anatuanya and Fr. Columba Nnorom) and various visiting Igbo priest such as(Fr. Madu, Fr. Collins Okafor, Fr. Atunzu, Fr. Onuoha etc.), the Community have come to stay. The Igbo Community have sister congregation of the Sisters of Blessed Sacrament Convent n Wilson, NC, originally from ARCH- Diocese of Onitsha, Nigeria. As the saying goes that “Igbos as Jews of Africa”, they seek to build a permanent temple for the God of Jesus Christ who sojourned with them in this foreign land.
Dr. Ekelekamchukwu Alphonsus Ngwadom
Chiarman, Igbo Catholic Community, Raleigh