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.
SKR: 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 http://alleluiamat.org/book.html)
SKR: 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)