JPII Leaders Fr. Naqash Masih and Christopher Akongnwi Begin their Vocational Paths

JPII Leader Fr. Naqash Masih (Pakistan, Cohort XII) has been appointed as a rector of St. Mary’s Seminary, a diocesan seminary of the Archdiocese of Lahore and the oldest seminary in Pakistan.

“I am excited to play my part in the life of future priests of the Catholic Church. This seminary helps them in their initial years of formation,” shares his emotions Fr. Naqash. “This responsibility is very challenging and demanding because this is going to be the future of the Church,” he continues.

St. Mary’s Seminary has given the world one cardinal, eight bishops, and a number of prominent priests. It plays a vital role in the field of interreligious dialogue by preparing the students to understand other religions, especially Islam. Reflecting on his new position, Fr. Naqash admits that he feels privileged to be appointed as a rector of this seminary.

Additionally, as a recent graduate of the Angelicum, Fr. Naqash emphasizes, “The Russell Berrie Fellowship has been a wonderful experience of different cultures, religions and amazing classmates from different continents. I am thankful to each person who contributed to my life and growth in Rome, and especially I am grateful to all my teachers for preparing me to play my role in the Church.”

At the same time, JPII Leader Christopher Akongnwi (Cameroon, Cohort XIII) has been appointed as the Diocesan Secretary General for the Commission of Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue (Diocese of Bafia, Cameroon) and the Dean of Studies for the newly created English Section of the Sabaya College (Diocesan Catholic College). This college is open for Christians, Muslims, Animists, and faithful from other religious traditions. It is so due to the fact that the main economic activity of Bafia is agriculture, and most production is exported outside of Africa. That is why, this activity has brought a lot of Muslim and Animist migrants from West and Central Africa, including Mali, Senegal, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea. Therefore, the interreligious dialogue initiatives are of utmost importance in this area.

Reflecting on his new appointments, Christopher says, “I count on your prayers, and I hope that the experience of other senior African JPII Leaders would support me in the Church through my Bishop.” He also adds, “What is exciting about these appointments is that the Bishop has entrusted me with this immense responsibility in the diocese even though I have not completed my STL yet. I pray for God’s guidance to apply my studies at the Angelicum in practical interfaith outcomes.” Christopher admits that this makes him a little bit afraid because ecumenism and interreligious dialogue are still virgin lands in Cameroon. Still, he is eager to work hard towards changing this situation for the better.

We are proud of Fr. Naqash and Christopher and wish them an enriching ecumenical journey in their professional life!