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Father Efiri Matthias Selemobri, MSP (Missionaries of St. Paul)

‘I think God willed it that I be a missionary priest’

Father Efiri Matthias Selemobri, M.S.P., a native of Nigeria, is Parochial Vicar at St. Mary Parish in Garden City.

SKR: Why did you enter the religious life , rather than becoming a diocesan priest?

Father Efiri Matthias Selemobri, M.S.P.:
I think God willed it that I be a missionary priest rather than diocesan. The thought of sharing Jesus with many more, rather than (the people) where I was born, was very attractive.

SKR: Why did you chose your particular congregation?

Father Matthias:
At the time, early 1980s, my missionary society (the Missionary Society of St. Paul) was the only one I knew existed other than the diocesan priesthood. SKR: What have been your greatest challenges as a religious?

Father Matthias: Learning new languages has been a great challenge; leaving friends for another place; immersing into new cultures; new culinary interests - life seems to be always beginning.

SKR: What have been your greatest joys?

Father Matthias:
My greatest joys have been seeing many conversions at once, celebrating the Eucharist, baptizing babies and hearing Confessions.

What kind of ministries have you been/are you involved in?

Father Matthias:
I have been engaged in formation of seminarians, priestly-vocation discernment, parish ministries and development. [Father Matthias is the author of “Stations of the Resurrection.” See

Please offer a quote that makes a statement about the value of religious life for you.

Father Matthias:
“The priest who does not stay close to the fires of the tabernacle should not expect sparks from the pulpit.” (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

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