Father An­thony’s So­journ

Catron Courier - - Front Page - by Wilma Stan­ton

Dur­ing the month of Jan­uary, Father An­thony Dike (pro­nounced "dee­kee"), pas­tor of the Catholic churches in Aragon, Datil, Glen­wood and Re­serve, vis­ited fam­ily and friends in his na­tive Nige­ria. Right af­ter Christ­mas, he flew from Al­bu­querque to Hous­ton where he boarded a United Air­lines di­rect flight to La­gos, Nige­ria. The flight took twelve hours. From La­gos he took an­other two-hour flight to his home­town of Ow­erri in the south­east­ern part of Nige­ria. When he landed in Ow­erri, the weather pro­vided quite a chal­lenge. The tem­per­a­ture was over 90de­grees and the hu­mid­ity was very high. The tem­per­a­ture re­mained above ninety the whole time. I don't think Father A. minded as he was glad to be there, and we all know that there is "no place like home."

Father A. was de­lighted to see his fam­ily. They held a re­union and it was the first time his whole fam­ily had been home at the same time. His two sis­ters were there, even the nun who works in the United King­dom. There was lots of food, fun and fel­low­ship. I learned they only eat two meals a day in Nige­ria, not three. I also learned the homes have a fire­place-like cook stove that makes it pos­si­ble to heat up a snack at any hour of the day or night.

Since Father An­thony left here right af­ter Christ­mas, he told me that Christ­mas is dif­fer­ent in Nige­ria. Neigh­bors, friends and fam­ily gather at one per­son’s house and they have the cel­e­bra­tions and it can last for sev­eral days and then they move on to the next and house and have Christ­mas there. Some­times they even go to a dif­fer­ent vil­lage so Christ­mas lasts a long time in his coun­try. An­other thing I found to be in­ter­est­ing is that he tries to visit as many el­derly peo­ple as pos­si­ble while he is home, in or­der to re­ceive a bless­ing from them, as one wants to avoid re­ceiv­ing any pos­si­ble curse that can be given by an el­derly per­son.

An­other in­ter­est­ing cus­tom is that the chil­dren born in the same year in a com­mu­nity come to­gether as a group and hold meet­ings to help with build­ing in the com­mu­nity, pro­vide help, and share ideas.

Father An­thony said his trip was a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence and he loved ev­ery minute. How­ever, he loves his work in the mis­sion churches of Ca­tron County, so he is happy to re­turn to his se­cond home and get to work at this busy time of year.

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