Confirmation Day at St Fergus

Fr Tobias Okoro (Parish Priest) Isla Graham, Wiktor Wetkowski, Bartosz Szymaszek,
Bishop Stephen Robson, and Markus Moscicki.

Bishop Stephen Robson, paid St Fergus’, Forfar, a Pastoral Visit on Sunday 2nd June during which he celebrated the Masses in their two churches, St Fergus Forfar and St Anthony’s Kirriemuir

Fr Tobias reports, “The Bishop administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to the four candidates we prepared. He was able to meet the people after the Masses, during the Tea and Coffee in Kirriemuir and the light refreshments that followed the Confirmation in the Forfar church hall. “

“We are most grateful to His Lordship and thank the parents and instructors who prepared the candidates.”

Statement on the EU Settlement Scheme

The Catholic Church in Scotland is committed to supporting all EU citizens who have made their home here.  The Church has experienced first-hand the extensive contribution that all EU citizens have made to our society.

EU  citizens are an integral and valued part of our parishes, schools and communities and as a majority of EU citizens are Catholic, raising awareness of the EU Settlement Scheme is a special pastoral responsibility to the Catholic Church.

The EU Settlement Scheme and how to apply – the scheme offers EU citizens living here a legal route to remain.  EU (European Union), EEA (European Economic Area) and Swiss citizens living in the UK must apply if they are to protect their existing rights and their place in our society.  It is free to apply and the scheme will remain open until 30 June 2021.  The official website is https://eucitizensrights.campaign.gov.uk/ and the official helpline is 0300 123 7379.

Bishop’s Jubilee

For those planning to attend Bishop Robson’s 40th Annniversary celebrations please note that the mass will now take place in St Andrew’s Cathedral on Thursday 20 June at 7.00pm followed by a reception in the Cathedral Hall.  All are invited to attend.

No weekday Masses

There will be no weekday Masses in St Fergus’ or St Anthony’s from Monday 15th October until Monday 22nd October.

Mission Appeal

The Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary will be visiting our parish for their mission appeal in the weekend of 1st and 2nd September. A special collection will be taken up to support them in all the Masses that will be celebrated.

Fr Tobias’ 25th Anniversary Celebrations

Fr Tobias Okoro celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood at St Fergus’, Forfar, on Sunday 29th July.

Bishop Stephen Robson led the many warm tributes to Fr Tobias whose ministry spans so many communities. Ordained in his home diocese of Okigwe, in Nigeria. Fr Tobias’ worked in Germany while he was studying at Leuven in Belgium, before settling in Scotland where he served as parish priest at St Bride’s, Pitlochry, Our Lady of Mercy, Aberfeldy and St Columba’s, Birnam before taking up his present appointments at St Fergus’, Forfar and St Anthony’s, Kirriemuir.

Fr Tobias was amazed at the attendance which he described as a powerful indication of the great number who have been touched by his priestly ministry. In a homily during the Mass with priests from across Dunkeld Diocese and beyond, his colleague, Fr Gregory Umunna, Blairgowrie, described Fr Tobias “not only as an inspiring priest, but also as a man who draws inspiration from the commitment of others.”

A hallmark of Fr Tobias’ priesthood has been his support for the needy, especially witnessed in the many projects he has engaged in, raising funds, to build classrooms and to dig a borehole serving communities in his native land.

It was a great sadness that Fr Tobias’ parents could not be granted a UK visa in time to attend the celebrations, but his sister, Joan Ndidi Egemonu and his brother Chima Emmanuel Okoro received a warm welcome among the many guests that packed the church.

Members of Nzuko Ndi Igbo Dundee and the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary lit up the celebration with traditional song and dance, including for the Creed and the Offertory – moments that drew spontaneous and prolonged applause from a delighted congregation.

Former parishioners from the German parishes of St Peter’s, Teterow, and the Holy Family, Matgendorf, added their voices to the entertainment which followed the Mass.

A great banquet, with food from many traditions, had been prepared afterwards in the church hall. For the gastronomists, Forfar Bridies were also available.

Fr Tobias paid tribute to all who had helped organise the celebration and for the joy of his priestly service.

“I cannot thank God enough for the gift of my priesthood and the wonderful people from whose generosity I have benefited all these 25 years of service to the people of God. As I look forward to the future, I pray for God’s grace to sustain me in the priesthood to the end, and blessings on all who have helped and supported me in any way in my priestly ministry.”

Photos – Andrew Mitchell

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Fr Tobias’ aims to put a smile on the faces of people

A Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Dr. Tobias Okoro has expressed worry over the neglect of rural communities in Imo State by those in authority.

Fr. Okoro, now parish priest at St Fergus’, Forfar, and St Anthony’s, Kirriemuir, in Scotland, has lamented (Feb 2014) the deplorable condition of his home community, Umualumaku Ehime-Mbano, Nigeria. As reported in ‘The Leader’, official newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, he highlighted how his community, like many other communities in the local government area, lack basic amenities like access roads, electricity and other necessary infrastructure.

He was at a loss that those in authority fail the people by not attracting projects from the government. He wondered whose interest the elected officials and appointees are protecting? Fr. Okoro criticized contractors who fail to perform duly awarded contracts that would have alleviated the deplorable leaving condition of rural dwellers.

He was bitter that the affluent in the society display ill-gotten wealth while their people wallow in penury and abject poverty as they lack basic amenities like: Medicare, portable water, good road and constant electricity.

Rev. Dr. Okoro, son of the former Catechist of St Joseph Parish, Umualumaku, Chief Mathew Okoro enjoined all and sundry to put hands on deck so that the society is made a better place for all, he said.

Fr. Okoro implored the authorities to provide succour amenities and infrastructure that will make life worth living in the rural communities, he added.

Even before now Fr. Okoro had attracted many projects from his Scottish parishioners, first at St Bride’s, Pitlochy and now in Forfar and Kirriemuir, for his native community.

Not long ago, a devastating thunder storm destroyed a section of Hill Top Model Primary School, Umualumaku, and the pupils and teachers had to teach and learn under harsh conditions.

When Fr. Okoro learnt of the precarious situation, he picked the gauntlet and solicited support from his parishioners who mobilized resources and reconstructed the collapsed School building with over Ten Million Naira. The passionate priest built a model six classroom blocks and furnished it with quality desks, sits and chalk boards. He provided a library, toilet facilities and office accommodation for the teachers and head master. Thus making the school a cynosure of all eyes.

In the past, Fr. Okoro constructed a water borehole which he donated to the Umuoparalum Community to help cushion the sufferings of the people who trek a long distance in search of potable water.

THE LEADER spoke with Rev. Fr. Tobias Okoro at his residence on what motivates his philanthropic disposition. According to him, what ever he has is given to him by people and as he has neither wife nor children, it behoves on him to help better the society and put smiles on the faces of people by giving out all he has.