Father simon’s AFFILIATION
Father Simon’s Hometown
Umon-Okon is Fr. Simon’s village of birth. He has great memories of his village church – as he was raised and worshipped there. His father is buried in his family home in Umon-Okon, and many friends and members of his extended family still reside in the village.
Fr. Simon is deeply devoted to his mother, Theophila (meaning “Lover of God”) Simon Etim. She was pivotal in his religious formation and in his vocation to the priesthood. She lives in Nigeria in the City of Lagos, where her other children live and work.
A few years ago, St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Crystal Lake, Illinois, hosted Most Reverend Camillus R. Umoh - the Bishop of Ikot Ekpene Diocese (Father Simon’s diocese of birth.) Bishop Umoh is a friend of both Father Simon and his family. To this day, Bishop Umoh still talks about his visit, and speaks endearingly of the people of St. Thomas the Apostle Church.
A Missionary Priest
Fr. Simon felt called to the priesthood from a very young age. He also had a desire to be a missionary priest. Fr. Simon attended high school seminary. Shortly after his graduation, his father passed away. His father’s death suspended Fr. Simon’s desire to become a missionary, as his local Bishop advised him to continue his formation for his home diocese of Ikot Ekpene in order to be close to his mother and family.
After completing his undergraduate college seminary in Nigeria, Fr. Simon’s desire to become a missionary priest still persisted. This desire became a reality when the late Bishop Arthur O’Neill of the Rockford Diocese invited seminarian Akan Simon, through his home Bishop, to complete his seminary formation in the United States. On May 16, 1998, Fr. Simon was ordained a Priest for the Rockford Diocese by Bishop Thomas Doran and continues to serve the people of the diocese with a heart full of thanks and praise to God.