Nigerian Priest With Northern Michigan Ties in Hiding from Boko Haram Insurgency
The Northern Michigan Catholic community is asking for prayers for a Nigerian priest caught in a dangerous situation in his homeland.
Father Polycarp Mblarawa worked at many churches in Northern Michigan before returning to Nigeria last year.
The country is in turmoil and facing constant attacks from the Islamic extremist group, Boko Garam.
It was a message that circulated on social media Monday night.
Father Polycarp Mblarawa saying the school he teaches at is under attack by Boko Haram. Adding that he and his students are hiding in the bush; his town on fire.
Polycarp served within the Diocese of Gaylord from 2011 until 2018.
He was assigned to catholic churches in Gaylord, Traverse City, Empire and most recently Alpena.
The diocese here and the Diocese of Maiduguri, Nigeria have had a longstanding relationship.
Three priests from that diocese are in Northern Michigan parishes right now.
The recent message from Fr. Polycarp is another reminder of the constant violence that is ravaging their country.
Polycarp reflected on it in a 2015 article published on the Diocese of Gaylord article.
In the article, he maintained his unwavering optimism, saying “We must move forward with life, God made us to be happy people. We have to be joyful even in the midst of fire.”
Around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, church officials said they received this update from Father Polycarp: “I am Ok but very exhausted. I have dismissed the students home for now. But still taking shelter outside the school. Please kindly extend my gratitude to all those praying for us. Shalom.”