“A constant yearning to serve my people,” Fr. Simon has always felt since his ordination. In late 2013, Fr. Simon returned to Nigeria for a sabbatical. The main reasons for his sabbatical were threefold: a prolonged retreat, to spend time with his beloved mother, and to perform missionary work. This missionary work would be to help his community build a new church. Fr. Simon knew that he was called to this mission when he returned to his home village for a visit in 2011.
While saying Mass in the existing church building, a pew collapsed causing a very loud and terrifying noise. The worshipers immediately thought something violent had occurred during Mass.
After Mass, the president of St. Joseph Church Council said to Fr. Simon, “Our son, our church is falling apart. Since you live in the church, please help us build our church.” These words have tugged at Fr. Simon’s heart to this very day!
The existing St. Joseph Church building is literally collapsing and unsafe. One of the main problems is that it was constructed primarily of mud-sand walls that disintegrate with time, and wood that is subject to constant termite infestation. Furthermore, the building is completely inadequate to serve the growing needs of the faith community.
Workers broke ground for the new church building in November of 2013. Over $400,000 has been raised and spent thus far, and the progress has been nothing short of impressive, especially considering the present state of the new church building. The new St. Joseph Church is completely under roof, built with concrete walls and steel roof trusses. It is now ready for Phase II of the Project.
Wall construction - The new church takes shape.