Catholic Church in Pottsville Welcomes Priest from Africa

POTTSVILLE, Pa. -- A Catholic church in Schuylkill County has a new priest who hails all the way from Africa.

Fresh off a trip to his native Africa, Fr. Barnabas Shayo is settling into his new home at the Church of St. Patrick in Pottsville

"It's a great place to be. People are wonderful. It's a lovely place to work and do my ministry, especially in the parish and at the hospitals," Fr. Shayo said.

Shayo has been on quite the journey. He moved to America in 2007 from Tanzania, Africa. He then made stops in Oregon, Harrisburg, and most recently, McAdoo, where he fulfilled duties at All Saints Roman Catholic Church.

In addition to his current pastoral duties, he's also a part-time chaplain at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Pottsville.

"He certainly brings a richness of his experience with him as a missionary in another country and another culture. I think our people are very open to see that and interact with Father. He's very easy to talk with," said Msgr. Edward O'Connor.

Shayo grew up in Tanzania at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, so he's used to seeing mountains like the ones we have here in Pennsylvania but there's one thing he's not quite used to yet.

"It's very cold, absolutely cold!" he said. "I'm never used to the snow. I come from Tanzania and it's nice and warm. The coldest it can be in my region, where I grew up is 65 degrees. That's our winter."

But Fr. Shayo says at least the reception he's gotten in Pottsville is warm.

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