…Says priesthood is my calling, music my passion
…Out with debut album
By BENJAMIN NJOKU
When an American occupational therapist, Anisha Joshi opined that “following our passion makes us smile, boosts our confidence and makes life more satisfying and fulfilling,” she probably had Rev. Fr. Peter Abiona in mind.
Abiona is a Catholic priest by calling, but he also has a strong passion for music. Despite his tight schedule as a priest, Abiona still finds time to do music. And it’s not surprising that the eloquent priest is out with his debut album.
The album, with the hit track, “You Are God” contains other tracks including, “Mo Gbe Olorun(I Lift Up My God)”,”I Weep No More”, and “Instrumental.”
Rendered mostly in Yoruba, Igbo and pidgin English, the songs are Rev. Fr Abiona’s way of further propagating the gospel of salvation.
Abiona who was ordained in 2017, as a priest, said he’s not doing music because of what he would gain from it. Rather, “It’s something I love doing and it started while I was growing up.”
He also revealed that he started playing musical instruments at the age of 6, adding that gospel music spices his priesthood. Many of the parishioners at ‘Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom’ on Ago road readily attest to his talent in singing. “His homilies are always deep and he begins with moving songs,” one of them said, adding “his combination with the parish priest, highly cerebral Reverend Father Eric Onyeoziri is a blessing to our parish.”
Said Father Peter Abiona: “I have always loved music from childhood. Priesthood is my calling, while singing is my passion, adding “ Becoming a priest, I got to know that music is very important even in the lives of the parishioners.
“When you combine preaching with music, it lifts their souls and it makes them come closer to God. It connects them with their maker. Preaching of the gospel is fine, but when it comes to music, people are always responsive of the message being conveyed. My music is helping me to reach out to many people.”
Abiona, who’s from the Osogbo Diocese of the Catholic Church but currently working with Lagos Archdiocese, dedicated his debut album in thanksgiving to God Almighty on the occasion of his 3rd year priestly ordination anniversary (29/12/2017 – 29/12/ 2020).
However, narrating what inspired him to delve into gospel music, the Catholic priest said he was always close to the choir while growing up.
“I have always been very close to the choir. I was an instrumentalist when I was young before I got into the seminary.”
Singing is something Rev. Fr. Abiona started doing while he was a child. He also admits that music runs in their family. “My going into music is generic. My dad sings and my mum was a choir mistress for many years. That’s where I developed my passion for music.”
“I started playing instrument at the age of 6. Then I was playing the local drum. When I was in primary and secondary schools, I was good at playing instrument. That made me to join my Diocese drama group because of my skills in playing local instrument. I also learned how to do acrobatic dance too, while growing up,” the priest said.
Abiona revealed that he composed the songs during the COVID-19 lock down.
“ I have always wanted to sing, but because of the nature of my activities, which couldn’t give me enough time to relax and draw the inspiration to compose songs, it was difficult. But during the last COVID-19 lock down, I had the time to go back to who I was. So, I composed these songs during the lock down. The lock down really helped me to actualize my dream.”
Abiona said his third track, “I Weep No More” was composed in the hope that the deadly COVID-19 pandemic would be a thing of the past, where the people will continue to live their normal lives again. The last track, according to him, is mainly instrumental as a lover of instruments.
“The message of my music is at the centre of your life, around you, everything you do, who you are and what you are. The air you breathe, your challenges and sorrows.”
Describing the message of his music as “soul-searching, resolving around us and our challenges, the priest said his next project is to shoot the music video of the songs. He’s also planning to put out more soul-lifting music, stressing that “This is just the beginning of my journey in music.”
For the Priest, music which is currently available on different digital platforms is helping him to proclaim the gospel of salvation to humanity.
“When we compose and make it musical, it sings more in the ears and eyes of the people. It’s evangelization, since the nature of my work is to propagate the gospel of salvation.
“ So my music which is currently enjoying passive airplay within and outside the shores of the country, is helping me to reach out to many people. I have been privileged to evangelize beyond my territory. Being a musician as a priest is helping me to touch more souls even those who are far from Him because I sing a gospel music” Abiona said.