It was a quiet change of the chaplaincy at Calvary Catholic Cemetery as Father Hugh Chikawe assumed spiritual custodianship of the cemetery from Father Charles Leke. The humble and soft-spoken former pastor at St. Peter Claver Parish shared a little of his background with those in attendance at the Month’s Mind Mass on July 29.
Father Hugh was born in Mnero Village in the Diocese of Lindi, Tanzania. When he was ordained to the priesthood in 1971, he was the first indigenous priest from his home Diocese of Lindi. After twenty-five years of service – mostly in Tanzania – his priestly duties found him in one of the coldest states in the USA, Minnesota. After two years of winter freezes and snow, he made his way to the more temperate Diocese of St. Petersburg where he has served since 1998. Prior to coming to Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Father Hugh was pastor at St. Peter Claver Parish in Tampa for 12 years.
He made no mention and few might know that Father Hugh is a scholar. In addition to studies necessary for the priesthood, he pursued a bachelor’s degree in journalism which he received while in seminary and prior to ordination. After his ordination, he attended Cardiff University in Wales, where he received a Master of Journalism degree in 1973 and in 1975, he earned Master of Education Management and Administration from Sheffield City Polytechnic University. For two years he held internships with BBC Radio London, Radio Voice of Germany in Colon and Radio Vatican in Rome, before returning to Tanzania where he was a Journalism Lecturer at Tanzania University in Mwanza for two years.
After serving in pastoral assignments in his home Diocese of Lindi, Father Hugh earned another Master of Pastoral Ministry Degree from St. John University in Minnesota prior to heading to warm and more Tanzania-like weather at the Diocese of St. Petersburg.
But, for all his other studies, Father Hugh Chikawe is first and foremost a Catholic priest who is here to serve those in need at Calvary Catholic Cemetery. Please join us at our next Month’s Mind Mass to pray for your departed loved ones and hear Father Hugh’s gentle words of encouragement and comfort.
Month’s Mind Masses are celebrated in the Chapel of the Resurrection at 10:00 a.m. on the last Saturday of every month.