UNLESS A GRAIN OF WHEAT DIES…
Gilbert was a very simple holy priest, and from the realm of his simplicity and holiness, it is not worthwhile to make many comments on something that is simple. A word is enough to portray the life, characteristics, person and works of FR GILBERT OHAI.
This book encapsulates the principles of Fr Ohai’s spirituality otherwise termed the OHAIAN spirituality which is an interface of the Franciscan spirituality. It looks at a life of total abandonment to the will of God exemplified in obedience to constituted authorities, loving trust in God, self-immolation as a priest and a victim, humility and asceticism, love of God and neighbour. These constitute the beginning and end of his spirituality.
Priests are chosen by God and are ordained to bless and sanctify the people of God. Fr Gilbert Ohai was one of the chosen few for this divine embrace. I did not meet him as a person as I had anticipated. Procrastination denied me that singular privilege though my younger sister did. She not only worked in his school as a student-teacher on teaching practicum but personally received some cups of rice, ingredients to do the cooking and some money to take care of her other needs.
Fr Ohai understood and cherished so much his call as a priest. Little wonder, he would not allow anything to come between him and God. He was not afraid of what the world would think or say as long as the will of God was fulfilled. Like Saint Paul, he was bent on reaching the goal and winning that crown of glory. The Cross of Christ was always before him to remind him that without the Cross, there would be no Crown. He had to plead with the then Archbishop A.K Obiefuna (of Blessed Memory) to grant him more tenure in the riverine area after the expiration of his tenureship as the parish priest. Like Saint Francis of Assissi who embraced sister DEATH, Gilbert embraced sister SUFFERING with great joy and gratitude to God.
In recent years, some modern missionaries eschew suffering and being sent to remote areas of the world. Anyone who was sent to any remote area receives condolence visits from his confreres. Fr Ohai embraced suffering and was eager to spend himself for the Good news, and that he did. Nothing could stop the power of love for God and humanity that burned in his heart. He had a very high degree of apostolic zeal. This was the reiterated comment of almost all the rectors of the various seminaries he attended.
Like Christ, his master, he sacrificed his all, even his blood for the sake of souls. Having preached his martyrdom during the Holy Masses of the week before the final immolation, Gilbert paid the highest price with his life for his beloved people of the riverine area on 15 July, 2003 there in his parish.
The MISSIONARY DAUGHTERS OF FR GILBERT OHAI is the seed of faith planted by the blood of this martyr. Our mission is to continue and thus, fulfill the UNFULFILLED DESIRE of the servant of God to bring all men to Christ especially the young and vulnerable through education and works of love, and to take care of the sick and afflicted. That the inhabitants of the riverine area and other parts of the world may share in the dividends of the children of God.
THE OHAIAN LAY MISSIONARIES is an association of lay persons, both married and single who take the private vows of ( conjugal) chastity, poverty, obedience and charity to the Poor especially the young and vulnerable, and the sick elderly people, lived according to each one’s own state of life. They are co-workers with the Daughters of Fr Ohai.
It is a community at the service of God and man.
To this great God be all praise and adoration both now and forever.