Fr. Simon Peter Opira
Fr. Simon Peter Opira is the associate pastor of St. Ann’s Parish on St. Croix and just celebrated his seventeenth anniversary of priesthood.
Simon Opira was born in Gulu, Uganda, on August 5, 1966. He was interested in becoming a priest and was thinking about the Comboni Missionaries until he met Msgr. Michael Kosak in 1986. Msgr Kosak and his charismatic team were undertaking ministry in different parts of the country. They corresponded for the next few years and Simon agreed to go to the Regional Seminary in Trinidad and Tobago and study for the Diocese of the Virgin Islands. After three years, he transferred to Mt. St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Md. and was ordained by Bishop Sean O’Malley at Sts. Peter & Paul Cathedral on May 23, 1993.
Fr. Simon Opira was assigned to St. Ann’s Church on St. Croix and remained there for six years. During that time, he also spent some time at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. studying Canon Law. In 1999, he was transferred to St. Thomas as pastor of Holy Family Church and began construction on Columban Hall. After a sabbatical in 2004, Fr. Simon was reassigned to St. Ann’s and continues as the associate pastor. He is also a member of the secular Franciscans and serves as their chaplain. When asked about his priestly journey, he talked about some heavy crosses he has carried but added that it has made him a more compassionate and loving priest. He looks forward to his ministry in the Diocese and is helping with the new class of deacon candidates.