March 13 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Nigerian priests take starring role in new documentary

Two Nigerian priests serving the Highlands due to Scotland’s shortage of priests are to star in an upcoming BBC documentary.

Fr James Anyaegbu and Fr Max Nwosu, of Aba, Nigeria, were filmed at football games and ceilidhs with members of their congregation.

The relationship between the two young priests and their congregations features in the BBC film Our Fathers, which will air later this month.

Fr Anyaegbu, 33, says he enjoys serving in Scotland which is over 4,000 miles from his home country.

Love for Scotland

“I have come to know a lot more about the country since we have been here,” he said.

The documentary, directed by Zoe Hunter Gordon and Kieran Hennigan, premiered at Glasgow Film Festival last week, and ‘sheds a positive light on Scotland,’ Fr Anyaegbu said.

“We enjoyed it because it’s an appreciation of our mission in Scotland. The time was when missionaries from Ireland, from Scotland, would come to Africa. Because of the universality of the Church now, there is a reciprocity of that charitable act between the two nations.”

The two priests have served in Scotland since 2015, collectively working in seven parishes from Beauly, near Inverness, to Poolewe and Ullapool on the west coast.

Priest shortage

They were sent to Scotland due to a shortage of priests to cover Scottish clergy holidays and, during the summer months, they collectively celebrate four Sunday Masses each week.

In the film, the priests are also filmed singing with residents at an old people’s home and hosting a concert of Nigerian music in a village hall.

The priests are well-loved by their communities, as parishioners joked to the filmmakers they are ‘not going to let them leave.’

Their mission is expected to continue for the foreseeable future in Scotland, as the Church has no plans to send them home.

Strong community

Fr Ayaegbu said: “There is nothing about going back at the moment, or any transfer. I will miss a lot of people whom I’ve grown into very strong ties with. Most of the parishioners have become like mothers and fathers to us. It will be very sad.”

A spokesman for the Church added: “There are a number of priests from Africa currently serving in Scotland including the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles. They are an asset to the local church and a reminder of the universality of Catholicism.”

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