A year and a half ago, my husband received a phone call that would change our lives. A priest friend of ours was starting a new project and he was building a team for it. Thus began our partnership with Father Maurice Emelu founder of Gratia Vobis Ministries, and priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu in southeast of Nigeria. Father Maurice is a Catholic Speaker and Retreat Preacher. Primarily known as the host of two TV shows on the Global Catholic Television Network EWTN, namely, The Faith With Father Maurice and now this work Word For A Wounded World. Father’s goal is to bring a real life picture of the church in African to the United States, while preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. The diocese that Father hails from is unique in that it has an abundance of vocations. Creating a vocation crisis any bishop would long for – no space for all of the young men.
For months we prepared for such a trip. The never-ending paperwork, and prep cannot begin to give you a clear picture of the world you are about to set foot in. Thanksgiving Day 2013 saw us boarding the twelve and a half hour flight to Lagos Nigeria. We arrived to a warm summer day, and the bustle of a city that 17 million people call home. The frantic pace of traffic and motorcycle-type cabs wiz along bumpy road, horns going non-stop. We would have quickly been lost among the crushing grind of people, had we not had escorts. Fortunately Father Maurice was used to this city, and he laughed at our amazement.
If I could define the word crazy, it would list four Americans and one priest hauling expensive camera equipments around a third world country, trying to navigate the culture and come back with something to show for it. Still, in the words of Mother Angelica “Unless you are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous. When you have God, you don’t have to know everything about it; you just do it.” And so our tiny team did it. For almost a month we toured five different parishes and countless Catholic places in the countries of Nigeria and Cameroon. Father preached the retreats to the people and my husband Sam led the crew in filming the episodes and special events. Countless local people stepped up and aided us along the way. Even to find the tired American’s some scarce and rarely used coffee.
Of everything we encountered the way the people celebrated the liturgy was the most touching. Sunday was a long day of celebration – A three hour mass that required the participation of the whole community. Smiling faces of the faithful reflected in outfits of every vibrant color imaginable. The women all wore their finest, the choir sang, the children danced. It was such a joyful celebration unto The Lord.
One can’t capture such an experience in words, or even the events we filmed. Still, the series Word for a Wounded World should give you a glimpse of the Catholic culture in Africa. These people share the same goals as us in their desire for peace, for a better life and for just country. It is with great excitement that I asked you to tune into EWTN to catch the series Word for a Wounded World. The countless prayers of so many have come together to bring this series to completion. Word for a Wounded World has been airing on EWTN since September 1st. Check out EWTN on Monday’s at 11:00pm ET and Saturday’s at 4:30am ET. Come experience the church in Africa!