By Mike Viola
When he was a boy growing up in Chad, Bro. Jacques Marie Liba, O.M.I. use to tag along with his parents as they taught Catechism classes at a Missionary Oblate parish.
Watching his parents teach the Catholic faith left an impression on young Jacques, and today he is studying for the priesthood so that he can continue that family tradition of sharing the faith as a Missionary Oblate priest.“I see the role of a priest as being a teacher,” said Bro. Jacques. “I want to teach the Bible to people in their own language.”
Brother Jacques is currently studying for the priesthood at Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. He arrived last year and is the first Oblate from Chad to study in the United States.
Brother Jacques grew up in a small village in Chad where the Oblates ran a parish. His parents, Martin and Pauline, were active members of the parish and they instilled a strong faith in their eight children. Brother Jacques was an altar server from an early age.
“It was common for the Oblates to come by the house when I was growing up,” said Bro. Jacques. “They really were part of our family.”
When Bro. Jacques began feeling a calling to religious life, he first explored the possibility of becoming a diocesan priest. But the impression that the Oblates made on him as a child eventually led him in the direction of becoming a missionary priest.
Because there is limited opportunity to pursue the priesthood in Chad, Bro. Jacques became a worldwide missionary after joining the Oblates’ pre-novitiate program. He spent three years studying philosophy in Cameroon and also spent time in Nigeria where he began his teaching career by teaching Sunday School.
In 2021, Bro. Jacques received the surprise of his life when he was chosen to continue his studies in the United States. He joined the Oblates’ seminarian community in San Antonio comprised of scholastics from the United States, Mexico and several countries in Africa.
After ordination, Bro. Jacques said he is open to working in a parish, school, hospital or any other location where he can be a teacher of the Good News and a messenger of God’s love.
And as he teaches, Bro. Jacques will be fulfilling a directive of Scripture: “Bring them up in the training and instructions of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4