Christ the King North Rocks

Mass in Igbo for Nigerian Catholics


Otito diri Jesu … Na ndu ebighi-ebi. Amen

Catholic Outlook Dec 12/Jan 13 Mass in Igbo Story
Photography: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu

By Virginia Knight, Catholic Outlook December 2012/January 2013

As light streams through the windows of St Oliver Plunkett’s Church at Harris Park, members of the Nigerian Catholic community have come together to celebrate Mass in their native language of Igbo. For this small but growing community worship is not just about prayer but is a celebration in song and colourful national dress, welcoming all to join in their joyful liturgy.

St Oliver’s Parish is the local ‘host’ parish for Mass in Igbo as it is central to those suburbs in Western Sydney where most Igbo Nigerians have settled. Mass is celebrated on the second Sunday of every second month at 11.30am. The next Mass is on Sunday 10 February.

The Igbo people are from south-eastern Nigeria and are one of the largest and most influential ethnic groups in this part of the country. The Igbo language has a variety of dialects and although a standard literary language was developed in 1972 it cannot convey the high and low tonal nuances of the spoken word.

The principal celebrant for the regular Mass at Harris Park is Rev Henry Ibe, Assistant Priest at St Patrick’s Parish in Albury in the Diocese of Wagga Wagga. Very Rev John Boyle EV, Episcopal Vicar for Chaplaincies and Health in the Diocese of Parramatta, gave the homily for the Mass on 14 October 2012.

Fr Henry said that celebrating Mass in Igbo was spiritually uplifting for the community and it was important for him to be a part of that.

“When they come here and are new to this country’s culture it makes a lot of sense to have one of their own to celebrate the liturgy with them in their native language while they are still in transition,” he said. “It also helps their children to tap into the cultural knowledge that their parents have brought with them from their native land.”

Very Rev Chris de Souza VG EV said the celebration of the Nigerian Mass in the Diocese was very welcome.

“We thank Fr Ibe for travelling so very far each month to make this possible. We also thank Fr Arthur Bridge for accommodating the Nigerian community at his parish. We thank Almighty God for gracing our Diocese with the richness of so many different races and languages to praise and proclaim His name.”

Continue reading at the Catholic Outlook site

Photo Gallery: Mass in Igbo at Harris Park

Mass in Igbo (Nigerian) in 2013

St Oliver Plunkett’s Church, 35 Wigram Street, Harris Park

Mass is celebrated at 11.30am on the second Sunday of each month

10 February

(6th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

14 April

(Easter Sunday)

9 June

(Corpus Christi)

11 August

(19 Sunday in Ordinary Time)

13 October

(28th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

8 December

(2nd Sunday of Advent – Feast of Immaculate Conception)

For more information about the Nigerian Catholic community contact: Austin Okereafor (0421 928 116), Evaton Onton (0469 627 218) or Stella Nwosu
0405 478 472, 02 8678 2118,

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