Two priests from overseas share their gifts with Omaha archdiocese
June 22, 2023
With a zeal for spreading God’s Word and a wealth of pastoral experience, two priests from Africa recently began their ministries in the Archdiocese of Omaha. For many years, the archdiocese has welcomed foreign priests on mission to the United States, supplementing the supply of priests while bringing their unique perspectives to parish ministry.
FATHER JOSEPH K. KWASAU
A native of Kaduna, Nigeria, Father Kwasau will serve as associate pastor of St. Mary Parish in Bellevue. Before coming to the United States, Father Kwasau served 31 years in Kaduna and then at a parish in Lagos, Nigeria.
Through a mutual friend, Deacon Cajetan Isah, Father Kwasau contacted Father Michael Gadache, associate pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Omaha. Father Gadache, who on July 1 will become pastor of St. Bernard Parish in Omaha, helped facilitate the new assignment.
“I so look forward to working with the people (at St. Mary) for the next couple years,” Father Kwasau said.
He just hopes that parishioners can get used to his “terrible accent,” he said with a laugh.
Father Kwasau, who has three brothers and two sisters, was ordained in Kaduna in 1987.
He is familiar with life in the U.S. after studying at the School of Theology at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, from 1995 to 1997. He said he already loves American food. He also enjoys reading liturgical books, listening to spiritual music and watching basketball games.
FATHER GEORGES KOKOU SOKPO
Born and raised in Lomé, Togo, in western Africa, Father Sokpo attended seminary there. He was ordained a priest in 1996 in the Diocese of Aneho, where he served for the next 15 years as a parish priest and in several administrative positions in the diocese.
In 2011 he began serving the Apostolic Vicariate of Donkorkrom in Ghana in numerous capacities, including chancellor for the past seven years.
Father Sokpo views the United States as a different sort of mission field from that in Ghana.
“The U.S. is having a huge challenge with evangelization,” he said. “While Ghana is struggling with primary evangelization, illiteracy and poverty, the U.S. is struggling with modernity and secularism and explosion of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
“We have to present Christ as a superior value and convince people why they ought to make the choice of that value we present.”
Father Sokpo is grateful for the opportunity to serve in the archdiocese due to a long-standing relationship between the bishop of the Aneho diocese and the Omaha archdiocese.
“I am looking forward to a good collaboration with the priests and the entire faithful of Omaha in order to witness Christ,” he said.
Father Sokpo anticipates no problem adapting to American culture and food.
“I have had the opportunity to visit the U.S. on countless occasions (vacations), which means that I have tried and tested the culture before, and that gave me a fair idea of the way and life of the people,” he said. “Having worked in another country before, I have developed a ‘missionary’s stomach.’”
Father Sokpo enjoys listening to classical music, sightseeing, reading educational materials and cooking.