JESUS WANTS US TO SHOW EVERYONE THE KIND OF LOVE THAT OTHERS CAN KNOW AND RECOGNIZE. FOR THE POOR OF NIGERIA, A HOSPITAL PROVIDING HIGH QUALITY MEDICAL ANE MENTAL HEALTH CARE IS HOW TO SHOW THAT LOVE.
I am Fr. John Ugobueze. i was ordained as a diocesan priest in 1985 in Nigeria and served as pastor in rural parishes in the State of Anambra, Nigeria for nearly 10 years. That part of Southeastern Nigeria is predominately Catholic. Soon, the parishioners began to recognize my promise as homilist and pastor even though I was so young… as thousands of faithful would crowd into the church for Mass. They brought all kinds of problems, asking for Christ’s healing and his caring pastoral care – something very challenging for me as a young priest just out of the seminary.
Many of those thousands who came had mental and serious medical issues. Extremely poor in this desolate part of Nigeria, my parishioners simply had nowhere else to go. So I did what I could with the tools given to me, my training in pastoral care, my faith, and the blessings I gave using holy water.
Looking ahead, the Archbishop sent me to the United States to obtain a Masters degree in Theology and a Doctorate in Health Care Ethics. Now, with Board Certification in Clinical Pastoral Education and having completed Chaplaincy training at the Mayo Clinic, I serve as a Chaplain at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas, one of the largest in the United States.
Besides my “day job” at the VA hospital and his pastoral duties, my other passion is to fulfill a life-long vision – I want to help Archbishop Valerian OKeke in Nigeria to design and build a Western-style psychiatric hospital in rural Southeastern Nigeria, where there are NO SUCH HOSPITALS.
I am proud to serve as president of the Catholic League for the Poor of Nigeria, with a board of highly dedicated, distinguished group comprised of a psychiatrist, physicians, architect, and with the help of several attorneys providing pro bono assistance to this Work of Mercy.
I hope you will help to make this much-needed hospital a reality.