Thursday, 16 October 2014

Rev Fr Dogonyaro: 15 years of Presbyterate



Rev Fr Dogonyaro: 15 years of Presbyterate
This July, my good friend Rev Fr Yakubu Fir’auna Dogonyaro celebrates fifteen years as a priest of the Holy Roman Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Kaduna. It looks like fifteen years is not much but when one considers the live of a Catholic priest, it is no joke; but of course with God all things are possible, for He himself has said “my grace is sufficient for you”.
Indeed it seems like only yesterday when our paths crossed. It was in 1996 when the now Fr Dogonyaro, while still a seminarian studying for a degree in Theology at the St Augustine’s Major Seminary, Jos, was sent on apostolic work to my cradle parish, St Augustine’s Catholic Church, Tudun Wada, Kaduna. The apostolic work experience is akin to what we may refer as internship in the secular environment which seminarian undergoing their nine-year formation period undertake at long vacations throughout the four-year period of the second lap of their training in order to give them a hands-on feel of pastoral life in the parish or any other institution of the church as the case may be. At that time, I was still an undergraduate at ABU Zaria and we had been at home for what would turn out to be a whole year due to the shutdown of the institution by the Sole Administrator, the late General Mamman Kontagora, so as to tackle the rut that had become of the school then.
We became friends with Dogonyaro because of a very special role he played in the life of my family. My parent had married in the traditional way without solemnization in church. My mother was catholic whereas my father was not, therefore she could not partake fully in the sacraments. For years friends and family appealed to the oldman to at least come to the church to solemnize his union with my mother, seeing that she was very committed to the practice of her faith, so that she could fully participate in the body of Christ but he just did not cooperate. He was not aggressive about it. He just didn’t care about faith things as he never quite went to “his own” church. He infact allowed her to go to her church with us the children. Then one day he accepted to go and it was Dogonyaro that attended to them. My oldman liked him and cooperated, thus the union between my parents was solemnized and the poor woman could final receive the Holy Eucharist. As for my father, he went back to his church which he would only attend when he cared. A year before he died, the oldman would willingly accept the Catholic Faith, get baptized and partake in the sublime nourishment of the Eucharist up on to his deathbed. That’s how we became friends with Fr Dogonyaro to this day.
One thing that first intrigued me, about him was his middle name, Fir’auna, by which he was more commonly called. I wondered how anyone would answer that name associated with tyranny; and, because of his burly frame, I thought he was a bully of sorts, only to find in him a genial personality, an enthusiastic conversationalist and one genuinely interested in people he comes across. No wonder my oldman took a liking to him.
Upon completion of his School Cert in GSS Tafawa Balewa Way, Kaduna, in 1986, Fr Dongonyaro immediately proceeded to College of Advance Studies (CAS) Zaria for his A’Levels and finished in 1988. While there, he was president of the Marxist Students’ Association, little wonder he became the Secretary (Admin) of Balarabe Musa’s Peoples Liberation Party in Kaduna State during IBB’s stillborn third republic. In 1990, he answered the call into the priesthood and was trained in St Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Makurdi, and St Augustine’s Seminary, Jos, where he bagged degrees in Philosophy and Theology respectively. He was ordained a priest on July 10, 1999.
After some years of pastoral work, Fr Dogonyaro proceeded to the prestigious St Georgen Philosophy and Theology Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, where he bagged a Masters degree in Christian-Muslim Relations in 2006. Quite aptly, apart from being the Pastor of Christ the King Parish, Iddah – Kagarko LGA in Kaduna State, he is also the Director, Interreligious Dialogue for the Kaduna Archdioces.
To mark this milestone this Saturday the 19th of July, Fr Dogonyaro, and avid writer himself, presents to the world a book, The Voice of a Priest. It is a collection of few from his many writing from his Marxist days to the now, a priest and pastor, working for interreligious harmony in Kaduna state and Nigeria at large.
To Fr Yakubu Fir’auna Dogonyaro we say, happy anniversary! Ad Multos Annos!!
 


BLUEPRINT Newspaper; July 17, 2014

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