NORWAY – The Rev. Samuel Madza, parochial vicar for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Norway and St. Joseph Parish in Bridgton, will return to his native Nigeria on July 2, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland announced.

He has served the parish since August 2013. A replacement has not yet been named, Dave Guthro, communications director of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, said.

“In the short time he has spent in Bridgton and Norway, he has been warmly received by parishioners and the community,” Bishop Robert P. Deeley said in a statement released recently by the diocese. “He has had a wonderful impact on those he has served and we are sad to see him leave. However, the diocese is grateful to the Society of African Missions for allowing Fr. Sam to minister in Maine and recognizes their need for Fr. Sam’s gifts to be utilized in a new assignment.”

Madza has been serving with the Rev. Innocent Okozi in the two parishes at the request of the Society of African Missions, which asked that the two priests live together in community. Because of that request, the diocese’s priest personnel board looked for an assignment that required two priests.

The Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish is comprised of St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Norway, Our Lady of Ransom Church in Mechanic Falls and St. Mary’s Church in Oxford. St. Joseph Parish is comprised of St. Joseph Church in Bridgton and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Fryeburg.

Guthro said the Society of African Missions has indicated it intends to provide another priest to the diocese to join Innocent.

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According to the diocese, the Society of African Missions is an international community of missionaries founded in France in 1856. A primary focus of the society is to serve the most abandoned, especially people of African origin. Another mission is the formation of the local clergy.

According to the news release, Madza grew up in northern Nigeria and was ordained to the priesthood in Abuja, Nigeria in 2005. Following his ordination, he served in Africa, including three years working with the pygmy population in the Central African Republic.

He also worked at the Society for African Missions from 2008 to 2011, teaching at a seminary in Ghana and participating in parish ministry. He arrived in the United States in May 2013, serving at St. Michael Parish in Augusta.

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