Have you ever wondered what propels inspirational personalities? Inspiring persons have two core beliefs. They believe in themselves and they believe in others. Behind those two beliefs is a lot of hard work. When they speak of their ambitions, it is with great passion, optimism and enthusiasm. When backed into a corner, they always find a way out of the situation.
On this week’s edition of inspirational personalities, we bring to your read, a youth formator, humanitarian, mentor to many and ultimately a Catholic Priest. He is the Director of Communications , Catholic Diocese of Awka and Fides Media Ltd. Rev. Fr. Martin Anusi.
Here are excerpts from a chit chat with him on the occasion of his birthday last Wednesday, September 18, 2019.
I present to you The Digital Director!
May we know you?
My name is Rev. Fr. Martin Anusi. I am plus one today. I am heading towards sixty. I am an indigene of Agulu in Anaocha LGA of Anambra State, ordained a Catholic Priest of Awka Diocese in 1995.We were seventeen priests ordained that year and five have gone to answer the call. Since then I have been a priest and I have found myself here as the Director of Fides Media Ltd, Awka.
I was born in my home town, Agulu, so I am a son of the soil. My father was not a Christian. He only got converted few years to my ordination. He had two wives, my mum and my step mother, but you wouldn’t know the difference when you get to my family because of how united we are. So I did the kindergarten in my village, Okpu. After that I went to primary school in my village also. Eventually, I could not finish my primary school education there because my uncle needed someone to come and live with them in the city. He was married but had no child, so the lot fell on me to go. Of course I was joyful going to the city. I went over to Onitsha and continued my primary school education at Patrick Okolo Memorial High School, Onitsha. Afterwards I gained admission to study in Christ the King College,CKC, Onitsha. I remember I was appointed the deputy senior prefect then. I finished 1983/1984. We were the Golden Jubilee set that year. You know CKC was founded in 1933.
What propelled your journey to priesthood?
That’s a very difficult question, I must tell you because I grew up like every young person. I was not even a mass server however my uncle that I stayed with then was a very religious man. That was the problem I had with him. Just like every other young boy, I would prefer to go play football at the field rather than going to church. But my uncle was a church warden, so every Sunday he would come back to ask me what the preacher said and what I learnt from the homily. So, I began the first prank, of always pretending I went to an earlier mass than he did but he had ways of finding out whenever I didn’t go to church.
Another thing was that, we always said the Rosary before dinner everyday. Everyone will be summoned to pray the Rosary before the food would be dished. If you don’t pray, that meant no food for you that day. I always participated in those prayers so I could eat. This is just to tell you that one never knows when or how God calls those HE has chosen. I didn’t even know who my parish priest then was. We were always outside the church pointing the kind of vehicle we would purchase and drive when we grow up.
So, we continued that way until I gained admission to Christ the King College, Onitsha. There I met another great formator, our principal then, who loved me so much not because I was religious but because he said I was intelligent. Eventually when I finished from CKC, I took JAMB and applied for Medicine. Because I had a very wonderful JAMB result, I knew my admission was certain. When I got home to stay with my parents before my admission letter was out, I discovered something strange. Every evening after discussing with my parents, I would see myself saying the Rosary. That was the same Rosary I would not want to say at Onitsha. While saying the Rosary at my father’s house, something struck me like a flash, ’why not become a priest’? This was not those kinds of distractive thoughts that pervaded our minds back then, like buying a car, building a hospital. No, it was something stronger.
So one day, I told my mum I wanted to be a priest. She laughed and laughed. When my father was told, he said over his dead body would I become a priest. He said that not because he was not a Christian but because he wanted to be Papa Doctor. But what shocked everyone was that I insisted on following the priestly vocation. My Dad threatened not to train me if I was not going to study Medicine and I couldn’t care less. They thought they would bend me, but I already made up my mind to be a priest. I want to tell you that I stayed at home for one full year doing nothing. When it was time for JAMB again, I refused to take the exam. What shocked them was that I was not even going out. I stayed at home reading books because I was an avid reader. I seldomly went to see my friend whose brother is presently a priest of this Diocese. For everyone, it was a strange thing for me to say I was going into Priesthood, because I was not that religious.
Time went on and people started advising my father not fight with God. They urged him to allow me follow my vocation. My Dad had to succumb. He called me one day and asked me if anyone advised me into priesthood and I said no. He then told me something which continues to guide my life today. He said ‘you left Medicine, left all your intelligence just to be a priest? If you want to be a priest, be a true priest, not after all these sacrifices, you will not live up to your calling’. Those words have been guiding me all my life, that whenever I wanted to be stupid, I would remember my father’s words to me – ‘if you must be a priest, live true to your vocation’.
Another problem was that when everyone gave their consent, I did not know where to go. I didn’t even know who was my parish priest then, so I had to go back to my uncle in Onitsha. When I told him everything that had happened, following my resolve to be a priest, I got the shocker of my life. My uncle, who exclaimed with joy, said he had waited and prayed for it all his life. My uncle’s name was Mr. Patrick, he is late now. He was then the one who took me to Monsignor Obiukwu, the Parish Priest of Sacred Heart, Onitsha. Monsignor did not know me, because I was not even active in the parish then. But when he saw my Uncle, he wrote the best report for ‘a young man he never knew’. My Uncle was just a manual worker and owned a bicycle. Then we rode in his bicycle to All Hallows Seminary to deliver to the then Rector of the seminary, Monsignor Achebe of All Hallows Seminary. When the Rector went through my letter, he asked ‘since you are from Agulu, would you want to be of Onitsha or Awka Diocese? I didn’t know the difference then, but I just wanted a change of environment, so I chose Awka. He then wrote a letter to the Rector of St. Johnbosco Seminary, Isuaniocha.
I needed a recommendation letter from my home parish priest before I could be accepted into the seminary. Getting to my parish priest, he said he didn’t know me, so he didn’t want to recommend me. Then I had to go back to that my friend who I was spending time with when I stayed in the village. His father was the Catechist. On hearing of my dilemma, the Catechist took me to the Parish Priest and vouched for me. On the testimony of the Catechist, the priest wrote the recommendation for me.
I went to Isuaniocha and the then Rector, Rev. Fr. Zeff Uzo accepted me into the seminary. He considered my excellent academic records and asked me to teach for one year at the Seminary. I taught Mathematics. Late Bishop Obiefunna was the Bishop of Awka Diocese then and after the interview, he said I succeeded and that started my journey to Bigard Memorial Seminary, Philosophy Campus, Ikot Ekpene. I spent four years there and after that six of us were selected because of our good academic records to teach others. I went to teach Junior Seminarians at Akpu for a period of one year and after that we continued with Theology for another four years. And then my Ordination in 1995.
To be continued
Felicitations on his birthday
Mr Gab Ndu Okpalaeze (DNCA ABS)
Happy birthday to Padre Martino.
Friends, Nigerians, People of the world; lend me your ears.
I want to give my own narrative of the man whom it pleases God to count among his priests, in the order of Melchizedek, as he marks his birthday today.
Before now, as a lay faithful in the catholic faith, I happened to be among those who erroneously believe that reverend fathers not assigned to parishes are those that have a ‘coma’ in their way of shepherding the flock, or put simpler, those causing their local ordinaire (bishop) some serious ‘headache’.
After meeting Father Martins Anusi, a priest of Awka diocese, Anambra state, General Manager of Awka diocesan newspaper, Fides Communications and director of Social Communications in Awka diocese, all those wrong impressions erased permanently from my mind, and I guess, minds of all whose paths have crossed his.
This is because, through his brand of service to God and humanity, Padre Martino has made that biblical ecstatic pronouncements by the ancient city of Athens, ” the gods have come down to us in the likeness of men”, a recurring thing in the subconsciousness of his staff in office,clients, professional colleagues and the rest of internal and external publics of Fides Communications.
Here is a thorough bred professional, who aptly combines his mission of soul winning for Christ with the act of transforming a well thought out vision into reality.
Fr Martins’ input has tremendously manifested in Fides becoming a force to reckon with in the media industry, playing alongside other secular and national dailies, and breaking new grounds in commercial printing.
If Padre Martino’s foray into areas that appear to have long been exclusively preserved for business gurus is tripping you already, wait till you see how he comes down the level of the lowest of the wrung of the ladder to deploy men, money and materials to achieve high class results.
I have heard the talk by Pope Francis that good shepherding entails the shepherd mingling with the sheep, tending to their needs for food, shelter, companionship, warmth, good health and care, which in the process taints the shepherd with droppings of the animals, and making him smell like them. Ever since i heard the papal admonition and exhortation, I have only been asking God to help my unbelief; as I considered this a tall order for priests and the religious.
But again, Fr Martin, makes you believe that by practical demonstration. He is not a boss, but a colleague to all his staff,the rank and file inclusive. No wonder, he is a friend to his gatemen, gardeners, proof readers, computer operators, editors, reporters and co priests who work with him.
In summary, here is a marriage counsellor( many journalists have been encouraged to marry from Fides in recent times, and are living happily thereafter) , a bridge- builder,(though owned by the catholic church, Fides under him employs professionals of different denominations and varying orientations), above all, Padre Martino is a social communicator, call it social mixer or socialite, and you ain’t far from reality.
As this prince of the church marks the anniversary of his birth here on earth, the heavens are rejoicing that here is an ordinary mortal, making himself available for use by the holy spirit, in achieving extra ordinary feats. HBD, Fada Martin Chuks!!!
UchechukwuEnem (Google Crowdsource Nigeria Representative)
If you want Igbo proverbs, he is an Igbo dictionary
If you need arguments, he is too logical
If you want advice, he is an adviser
If you want long talk, you just met an encyclopedia
If you look for Martin, he is Don Martino
If you need technology, he is digital
If you want books, he is a book shelve
If you want smile, he gives you lots of laughter
If you need assistance, he is extremely generous
His best slogan is what I celebrate today
“ I BETTER DIE WITHOUT MONEY RATHER I DIE FOR HUMANITY”
Happy Birthday DON MARTINO
Thanks for every cherished moment
Mrs Uche Amunike- (Fides Asst. Editor)
It is with a deep sense of friendship, love and family that I joyfully celebrate a man who has touched my life in more ways than one.
He is my boss, friend, brother, father, confidant and mentor of sorts.
He is a true inspiration. He is a great influence, a man larger than life and the wind beneath the wings of all that come close to him.
I get tired sometimes. Tired of all around me. All the stress of being who I am. Yeah, it’s not easy being Queen Mother. Peeps look up to u, expecting u to be near perfect, strong, unbreakable, forgiving, tolerant, and just the ideal woman.
Family look up to you to be the pillar that everyone draws strength from.
Your children look up to you as their role model that should have no flaws. The girls tell you they want to be exactly like u when they grow up.
The boy tells you he prays to marry someone exactly like you.Hubby looks up to you to be his strength, his haven and his peace.
It really is tiring. It drains my energy. It really is tiring being strong most times and smiling through tears and the struggles of my daily existence just to give hope and energy to all who look up to me.
That’s where this amazing gentleman comes in.
Fr Martin is that man I go to, just to talk, laugh and unburden my mind. Such visits to his office are therapeutic. I just look at him listening and gisting and telling me his life experiences. It doesn’t matter the weight his shoulders carry. He always offers his shoulders. Each time, I leave his office feeling lighter and better. It truly is a priceless feeling.
That’s the man who I so happily celebrate today.
I just wanna say that I thank God for the gift of you, Padre. You are the best definition of God’s gift to humanity. You are my fortress, strength and true inspiration. May God answer all your silent prayers this day. May he bless u beyond your expectations. May he strengthen u always!
Happy Birthday to you
…Yet They Say God Lives in Heaven
2018 can pass for the toughest year in the life of my family.
I am sure not even the years ahead can be that tough.
I was crippled for four months and subjected to a life of pain and torture. I had just overcome it when my wife delivered my last son, Izunna through CS, and the baby was transferred to a different hospital to be resuscitated through some medical equipment and the charge was per day. Not long after, my wife again underwent another operation for appendicitis, and all these drained me financially.
Four months later, she was recommended for yet another surgery. God was good, and the surgery was successful, then came the time to pay bills. I was billed about 300k, and I managed to cough out about 200k, but the balance was nowhere to be found.
I was so disorganized, so disheveled, and didn’t know what steps to take next. I thought of approaching politician friends but perished the thought because they have ALL proven to be fair weather friends. I thought of others, but realized that out of my numerous friends, I hardly had REAL friends.
It was duringthis trying period that Rev Fr Martin Anusi came in. He called and said he wanted to check on my wife, and when he came and saw her condition, he asked; “Eleke, so how have you coped with bills?”
I was going to start making long long story when he simply asked, “So how much is left?” I said 100k, and he simply said send me your account details, and that was all.
Now, if you haven’t had cause to be bashed by young medical doctors, then you have to go thank your God because they can bully, cajole and make you less the man that you claim. The end of this story is that I simply walked into the office of the doctor and ordered him to go remove his pipes from my wife that I was taking her home. He barked back at me, ordering me to go settle bills and take my wife, and I threw a bundle of Naira notes on his table and ordered him once more to be fast. Guess what? He obeyed immediately.
YOU ARE DEAD WITHOUT MONEY, Says James Hadley Chase.
…Now, do you still think God lives in Heaven? For me, he lives here on earth with us in the form of man.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY REV FR MARTIN ANUSI
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO A LIFE SAVER
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO GOD’S REPRESENTATIVE ON EARTH
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO A TRUE FRIEND AND BOSS.
MAY GOD BLESS YOU.