Welcome, Father Apo Mpanda! We look forward to your ministry as pastor of Our Lady of the River Parish in LeClaire and Church of the Visitation Parish in Camanche beginning July 1.
Father Apo comes to us from St. Anthony Parish in Davenport where he served as pastor since 2010. He also served as canonical pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Blue Grass during that time.
We asked Father Apo, a native of Africa, to share information about his life and ministry as a way of introduction to his new parish communities. He responded with the following details:
- Name: Apo T. Mpanda
- Age: 61
- Birthplace: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Call to the priesthood: After high school. I went to the seminary at the age of 19. I was thinking of becoming a medical doctor before my call to the priesthood.
- People who influenced your vocation: My family and my priests, high school teachers.
- Ordination to the priesthood: Ilebo (DRC) 7/31/1988.
- Arrival in the United States: I came to Davenport in 1999 to serve the Lord through his people of the Diocese of Davenport.
- Parishes served: Our Lady of Victory Parish and Sacred Heart Parish (Davenport); St. Mary Parish (West Point); St. Boniface Parish (Farmington).
- Other positions served: Presbyteral Council.
- Visits to homeland: It depends on the circumstances and the finances. For example, last year I went twice because of my sister’s illness, and then again, when she passed. I try to go once every two years because it is expensive to travel there more often.
- Misses most: My family, friends and homemade food.
- Appreciates most: The people of the diocese, especially people of the parishes I have served. They have been good to me. They have shown me their love and support in many ways.
- Loves most about being a priest: Celebrating the Eucharist and administrating the other sacraments. Caring for people, being with them in good and bad times.
- Challenges: When people try to tell me what and how to do my job.
- Thoughts about transition to a new parish: I go where the Bishop sends me. I have to find my way with God’s help in the unknown territory.
- Impact of the coronavirus pandemic: This unexpected virus has changed the lives of people. I never thought to celebrate the Mass in an empty church. I am a social guy; I enjoy talking to people. It has changed my ministry because I have to wear a mask. It is a good thing to protect my fellow brothers and sisters and myself. We all need to protect each other.
- Thoughts about new parishes: I am looking forward to sharing the Good News of the Gospel with them. To celebrate the sacraments with them, to love and care for them. I hope that they will love and appreciate me for who I am. That is what I found with the people of Our Lady of Victory, Sacred Heart, St. Mary-West Point, St. Boniface-Farmington and St. Anthony.
- Final thoughts: I hope this will give you an idea of who I am.