Many pass though the globe unsung. Few, however, leave their marks in the footprint of time. One of such rare breeds is Very Rev. Msgr Gabriel Sunday Osu, immediate past Director of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos and at present the parish Priest of Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Northern Foreshore, Chevron, Lekki, Lagos. Msgr. Gabriel Sunday Osu, a native of Ubulu-Ukwu in Aniocha Local Government Council Area of Delta State, was born on Tuesday September 5, 1954 in Yaba area of Lagos.
His parents were Mr. Gabriel Okolie Osu (late), and Dorothy Osu (nee Odiaka). The second child of six children, five boys and a girl, young Gabriel attended St. Thomas Aquinas Primary School, Surulere and thereafter entered St. Theresa’s Minor Seminary, OkeAre, Ibadan, Oyo State. On completion of his secondary school education, he opted for SS. Peter and Paul Major Seminary, Bodija, Ibadan where he received his priestly formation.
At the seminary, he was known to be very good at sports, especially the game of football and was fondly referred to as ‘Osu Meme’ by his colleagues. Young Gabriel was also a focused student who knew his purpose of being at the seminary. No wonder then that he excelled in all his papers and thereafter bagged a degree in philosophy and Theology.
Having fulfilled all requirements, he was ordained a priest of the Catholic Church on December 5, 1981 by Archbishop Anthony Olubunmi Okogie at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Ebute-Metta, Lagos. Following his ordination, Rev. Fr Gabriel Osu was drafted to serve as a curate at the Holy Cross Cathedral, under the direct supervision of the Archbishop of Lagos and rose to become an administrator there between 1982 and 1985.
He was privileged to be the Master of Ceremony at the Holy Cross Cathedral during the historic visit of Pope John Paul 11 in 1982. Desirous of acquiring more knowledge, and having received the blessing of the Archbishop, Rev. Fr. Gabriel Osu travelled to Rome to study Moral Theology at the Academia Alfonsiano, where he bagged S.T.L in Moral Theology. He returned to the Archdiocese of Lagos in 1987 and was appointed chaplain to St. Gregory’s and Holy Child Colleges, Obalende in Ikoyi, Lagos State.
While there, he was in charge of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Old Maroko, Lagos. Msgr Osu has served in many parishes over the years. Following a very inspiring outing at St. Gregory’s College, in 1994, the then Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Okogie, transferred him to Immaculate Conception, Egbe Division. In 1996, he was moved to St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Ladipo-Oshodi, from where he left in 2000 to St Paul’s Catholic Church, Ebute Meta, Oyingbo, and in 2011 he was transferred to St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Lafiaji in Lagos Island.
In 2013, he was moved to his present parish, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Northern Foreshore, off Chevron round-about, Lekki, Lagos State. Msgr. Gabriel Osu, is a frontline communicator and prolific writer. A great patron of the media, in the early 90s, he resuscitated the then comatose Catholic Herald Newspaper and has since then returned it to its past glory as a leading Catholic newspaper. In the year 2015, for instance, the paper was adjudged the best Catholic Newspaper in Nigeria by the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria.
Msgr. Osu loves to write. He is a columnist with several national dailies and a vocal social crusader who is never averse to speaking out against all forms of social injustices. He is also an author, having over six books to his credit, including In Service Of God and Man; My Commentary On Nigeria and the latest, SpringBoard To Salvation. On why he opted to become a Catholic Priest, Msgr. Osu has this to say, ‘I’ve never known any other life. Right from the cradle, I had the urge to be a priest; as young as 4 years old.
I remember when I was still being carried to St. Dominic’s. Then, it used to be St. Patrick’s, the nearest Church in Surulere then. I have always been fascinated seeing a priest on the altar. I have never thought of being any other thing.’ A very charismatic priest, Msgr. Osu has bagged several awards for his invaluable service to the Church and the nation at large. An Archdiocesan chaplain of the Apostleship of Prayer League of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Jesus, he is well known for his great sense of humility, accessibility and philanthropy.
He believes in impacting positively on the lives of all that come his way. Having been privileged to work closely with Msgr. Gabriel Osu for over a decade, I can boldly say he is kind-hearted, humane and very accommodating. He is very committed to his pastoral work, balancing it with his passion for the media. He is a team player who finds joy in putting smiles on the faces of those that comes his way. In a nutshell, he is also a lover of charity who is always ready to give all in his possession to the poor and needy.
He is a priest with a difference, highly charismatic and a people’s man. As the Director of Social Communications for over two decades, Msgr. Osu was the toast of the Nigerian media. Using his closeness with media owners and other top brass, he has a way of selling the views of the Church to the world in ways very few others are able to do.
No wonder then that for all the years he managed the media relations of the Catholic Church in Lagos, his principal, Anthony Cardinal Okogie was, and still remains very visible as the voice of the voiceless owing to the excellent manner he was well managed by Msgr. Osu who ensured that his door was always opened to the media, both day and night.
No wonder then that when the present Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins came on board, he did not hesitate to tap from the wealth of experience of Msgr. for seven years before ill health began to slow down his pace. Even then, Msgr. Gabriel is still his jovial self, ever smiling, cheerful and relevant as the darling of the Nigerian press.
Indeed, Very Rev. Msgr. Gabriel Osu, is a media colossus who continues to make his mark in the communication world. This is wishing him a merry 40th priestly ordination anniversary. I pray God will perfect his health and grant him many more years of service in His vineyard. Ad Multos Annos!