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FATHER IGNATIUS OKOLI





We welcome our new PAPA priest, Father Ignatius Okoli from Switzerland. He was born on August 26, 1975 in Enugu Nigeria. Raised a Catholic he was one of 8 children. His sister is a nun of the Missionary Daughters of Mary Mother of Perpetual Help.

In his youth Father Okoli was an altar server, an active member of the Legion of Mary, active in the charismatic renewal and was a member of the Student Fellowship High School. During high school he wanted to become a doctor.


At nineteen years of age, he enrolled in the John Bosco Junior Seminary in Nigeria where he studied intensive Latin for two years. His one year novitiate was at Holy Family Spiritual Year Formation Center in Nigeria. He studied Philosophy for four years at Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu, Nigeria. For one year he had pastoral experience teaching Chemistry and Latin at John Bosco Junior Seminary in Nigeria. He spent 4 years at Blessed Iwene Tansi Memorial Seminary in Onitsha, Nigeria studying Theology.

Father Ignatius was ordained on August 19, 2006 in Awka, Nigeria. After his ordination he worked for two years as Vicar in the Cathedral of Awka Diocese in Nigeria from 2006-2008. In 2008, he returned to St John Bosco Seminary to teach Chemistry and Latin. He received his Masters in Religion and Human Relations at Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, Nigeria.


After his ordination and Pastoral experience in Nigeria, he came to Rome in 2010 for his further studies. From 2010-2013 he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Scriptures from the Jesuit University, Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He studied Biblical Archeology for a semester (October 2011-February 2012) at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He started his intensive study of German at Kreuzberg, Bonn Germany in 2011. He speaks Italian, German, English and Igbo (his mother language

At the completion of his Licentiate in 2013, he started his doctorate under the guidance of Professor Gianni Barbiero at the Gregorian University, Rome and concluded it in 2016. It was based on the comparative study of the Song of Songs and Genesis 1-3. The book can be found at bookstores and Amazon, (The Motif of Search: An Intertextual Study of the Song of Songs and Genesis 1-3 on Gender Relationship).


It is apparent from speaking with Father Ignatius his love for the Lord and his desire to help people. He definitely believes in the simple life and being with the people. The source of his happiness is God and he tries to live in accordance with his motto: Omnia facere in Deo Possum (I can do all things with the help of God). He believes that the faith of the congregation can motivate and strengthen the priest. When he looks up and sees the faces of his congregation, their faith and their eagerness to know God help him better in his own struggles.


We discussed the Church, the question of women ordination, same sex marriages and the changing world.


In 2020 Father Ignatius started an NGO (non governmental organization), Divine Love and Mercy Foundation (www.divineloveandmercy.org) to care for the poor and needy ones in Nigeria.


Please welcome Father Ignatius to our PAPA Family.



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