Father Albanus Ogowuihe celebrated his final Sunday liturgy in Burns Lake last Sunday as he prepares to return to his native south east Nigeria after a five year stint in Burns Lake.
“It’s been wonderful,” Ogowuihe said of his time in Burns Lake. “It has been challenging but also very enriching. You learn a lot and you give a lot.”
Burns Lake was something of a culture shock on many levels.
“This is a small parish in terms of human population, but large in terms of geography,” Ogowuihe said his local parish.
“Here, we have about 80 consistent parishioners, and lot more irregular ones. In Nigeria, the number of parishioners would be almost innumerable.”
He said he was sorry to be leaving. After five years he had finally come to understand and enjoy the enigma of winter, and the multi-faceted cultural landscape that is unique to Burns Lake.
“The First Nations community here has been an eye-opener,’ he recalled. “It has been an exciting experience to work with them.”
Two other Nigerian priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Prince George will also be leaving. The towns of Fort St. James and Dawson Creek will shortly bid their pastors good-bye.
Father Thomas Shymko will be the new priest at Immaculata Parish.