Reverend Father Paschal Ayi Guddah; member of the Society of African Missions (SMA) has been working at the Divine Mercy Parish, Pissa in the Diocese of Kontagora (Niger State) since January, 2020.
Upon his arrival, a literacy programme organized by the Diocese for the local people from the 138 outstations within the parish which has been termed “the Dry season course” was in full gear. The 12 weeks programme which came to a halt due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus saw over 500 parishioners mostly youth and children benefiting from the morning, afternoon and evening sessions.
However, due to cases of ill-health on the side of some students, Father Paschal took up the administering of first aid to these students to enable them feel better and learn. For cases beyond his abilities, the students are sent to the dispensary run by the OLA sisters.
With the zeal to help these students deepen their faith in God, he holds Catechetical instructions and Holy Mass with them every Monday to Saturday. In such a milieu, he has to sacrifice and teach them because no one will approach him for these lessons even though they have questions pertaining to the Catholic Church and many of them do not know how to use some gestures at Mass such as Sign of the cross, the sign made when the Gospel is about to be read.
Fr. Paschal also embarks on visitations to the homes and farms of the people who are predominantly farmers to pray together with them with the help of Catechists and Service Leaders. Even the outbreak of Coronavirus was not an excuse to neglect the faithful as he embarked on intensive education on the pandemic.
The poor state of the roads in these communities which had led to cases where “I fall from the motor bike” has not killed his inspiration as he says “my inspiration emanates from the Love of God which has been shown to me, an unworthy person.”He adds that despite fears by the people to speak to foreigners, “as a result of His Love, I have responded freely without hesitation to go to areas where the Good news of Jesus has not yet reached. Basically, it is the Love of God that is gravitating me towards these people (who are also created in the image and likeness of God).”
His future plans are: to have a parish office for meetings as currently the dining room serves as a meeting ground, build churches in the outstations where their structures are dilapidated and a fencing project for the parish. He encourages everyone doing something worthwhile for humanity that “every facets of human life are full of challenges. By extension, there are challenges in all missionary work but challenges can be conquered.”
He outlines them in 3 P’s, “Prayer, Patience and Passion.”
Source: Jennifer Doe//Radio Angelus