Fr Philip Bua was ordained as a priest of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles yesterday evening.
Fr Bua, originally from Nigeria, was received into the diocese in St Columba’s Cathedral, Oban, is the first priest ordained in the diocese for three years.
He said though he could not mention the people of Argyll and the Isles individually he thanked them ‘from my heart for welcoming me to the diocese and making me feel at home. I will never forget your individual and collective support’.
Bishop Brian McGee, who ordained Fr Bua, commented on Fr Bua’s remarkable journey from Nigeria, to Kenya, to the Pontifical Beda College, to Argyll and the Isles.
“Divine providence, Philip,” Bishop McGee began, asking how a man born in central Nigeria ends up a priest of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles, ‘at the edges of Western Europe!’
“Is this by chance? Or is this part of God’s mysterious and wonderful plan? For me it is Divine Providence.”
Fr Bua was ordained on the feast of St Aloysius, patron saint of young students and AIDS patients.
Bishop McGee met Fr Bua as volunteers in 2012 in Western Kenya at a clinic run by the Church for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
The bishop joked, “we were neighbours: you were in the posh part. [I] was in a dormitory with no toilet and cold showers.
“When we said cheerio, I thought, ‘that Philip’s a nice guy’. I never thought I’d be seeing him again.
“In all of the readings you have chosen this evening, we have heard: it is God who calls.
“God has called you to be a priest among us and I thank you for responding.”
Fr Bua said he wished to ‘thank God Almighty for his blessings and granting the opportunity to do this, that I am able only by his grace.’