SAMUELS: On Mission from Africa to Texas: The M.S.P. serve our community

August 15, 2023

The Archdiocese has several religious orders that serve throughout the Archdiocese. To name just a few, The Basilian Fathers, Companions of the Cross, Dominican Friars, Congregation of the Holy Spirit, Jesuit Fathers, Somascan Fathers, Missionaries of La Salette and the Redemptorist Fathers are all religious orders that serve our Archdiocese. There is one religious order, The Missionary Society of St. Paul of Nigeria (M.S.P.), that has a unique charism for America from the heart of Africa.

The M.S.P. is a Catholic religious congregation based in Nigeria, serving parishes in Africa, North America, Europe and the Caribbean. Dominic Cardinal Ekandem founded the M.S.P. in 1976 in Nigeria.

In 1986, the members of the M.S.P. were sent on foreign missions for the first time to Cameroon, Liberia and the United States. Their presence in the United States for nearly 40 years started as a partnership with the American St. Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart (the Josephites), a community of priests and brothers established in 1871 to serve the African American Catholic Community.

Today the M.S.P. work throughout the world in countries like Botswana, Gambia, Malawi, Chad, South Africa, South Sudan, Liberia, Kenya, Central Africa Republic, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Grenada, the Bahamas and Canada.

The priest members of the society are incorporated into it by an Oath of Permanent Membership and are dedicated to the society’s Missionary Apostolate. By the missionary society’s Oath of Permanent Membership, members undertake the observance of the evangelical counsels of chastity, evangelical poverty (simplicity of life) and obedience, all for and in imitation of Christ.

Most M.S.P. in our Archdiocese work and live in parish settings. One member, Father Christian Mary Anosike Alimji, M.S.P., affectionally known as Father Chris, is the pastor of St. Philip Neri. Father Chris said of the M.S.P. that, like the charisma of St. Paul, the members of M.S.P. are driven by the love of Christ to “be all things to all people.”
Currently, the M.S.P. serve and operate in several parishes throughout the Archdiocese, including St. Philip Neri, St. Anne De Beaupre, St. Gregory the Great, St. Nicholas, St. Peter the Apostle, St. Martin De Porres, Sacred Heart Crosby and St. Mary Magdalene.

Father Felix Osasona, M.S.P., not only serves as the pastor of St. Mary Magdalene in Humble, but he also serves as the chaplain and provides spiritual support for the African Yoruba Catholic Community of Houston. The Nigerian Catholic community of the Yoruba speaks the Yoruba language and is mainly from the southwestern part of Nigeria. Many of the Yoruba Catholic community members in Houston belong to various parishes throughout the Archdiocese and come together every quarter to share their language in Mass, worship and fellowship.

To hear and understand more about the M.S.P., I invite you to a special episode of “In His Light Podcast with Father Reginald Samuels” that features Father Chris and his thoughts on the religious order. The podcast can be found on Spotify and Apple podcasts. 

Father Reginald Samuels is the vicar for Catholics of African Descent and pastor at St. Hyacinth Catholic Church in Deer Park.