The Catholic Church out on Highway 155 welcomed in August a new priest, Rev. Fr. Nicholas Owino Onyach, FMH. The congregation has been energized with Father Nick’s youthful enthusiasm and thought provoking messages. Father Nick’s goal is to spend more time in the Coushatta community and not have to rush off to his duties at Mary, Queen of Peace in Bossier City so he has gotten permission to dedicate his Saturdays to us here in the Coushatta area. Beginning October 6th Saint George’s mass schedule will change to
Saturday Vigil Mass at 4:00 PM
and every Wednesday at 5:00 PM
Here is an introduction, in his own words, of Father Nick:
I am the last born of a family of seven, two girls and five boys. I was born on August 23, 1964, in Slaya County of Kisumu, Kenya in East Africa. Being born in Africa, one hardly dreams of leaving outside the continent. As my friend Fr. John says, “you are born in the banana field, your daily food is bananas, you drink beer made from bananas, and when you die you will be buried within the banana plantations”. God forbid if one does not go bananas.
My teachers in my primary school days were so mean. They could flog us for no good reason. Being the youngest child, I could run to my mom crying and she encouraged me to switch schools. I began in Hafumbre primary school, and continued my education in Got Odima, Lifunga, Busia Township and finally graduated at Sega boys in 1980. I became a seminarian at the age of fourteen, the priest in charge of vocations asked me what kind of a priest I wished to become, I said a missionary priest without really understanding the implication. I then joined Kiserian Minor Seminary. I would later learn that one ministered outside familiar territory. After the minor seminary I worked for a year with a road construction company then joined the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor. As a student I was sent to the country of Zambia in central Africa. My first delicacy was a bunch of caterpillars and mice. Don’t you worry both tasted like chicken.
After my Philosophy at St. Bonaventure College in Zambia, and theology at Tangaza College in Nairobi, the Lord blessed us with a new Community, The Franciscan Missionaries of Hope. I came to Shreveport in 1999, ordained to the deaconate March 19, 2000 and on August 12, 2000 I was ordained to the priesthood. My life after ordination to the priesthood changed drastically. From a village boy running after goats, sheep, and cattle, to a missionary priest away from home and stationed in Shreveport, LA. My first dinner was shrimp and noodles. These looked the same
like caterpillars only they were white. The following day during lunch, we had hot dogs and I almost screamed we don’t eat dogs in Africa.
After four years in Louisiana, I returned to Africa for six years, and then returned to the USA, this time to Long Island, New York. It was winter. The sun was shining and the sight of snow was so beautiful. I went out in my short sleeves to enjoy vitamin D from the sun as we do in Kenya. It was freezing cold and soon I was bundled up like everyone else. The English spoken in NY isn’t close to what I was used to, in Kenya and Louisiana.
One striking thing in Louisiana and in New York is that people appreciated my efforts to learn and to adapt. They would thank me for my service and my vocation to the priesthood. They wanted to know how they could be of help to our people in Africa. These people that I call Friends to the Gospel of Hearts and Hands have indeed transformed many lives in Kenya and have made me proud as an African Franciscan Missionary priest.
It was my pleasure to minister to the people in New York but I am most grateful to the Diocese of Shreveport and entrusting me to serve the parishioners of Mary, Queen of Peace and St. George Catholic Churches. I come among you with great humility, fully aware that God is Good all the time, and all the time, God is Good. Let us take a day at a time and discover His goodness in our midst, for our well being and for the greater Glory of His Name.