QUB grad is first Filipino to become Catholic priest in Northern Ireland
The first Filipino to be become a Catholic priest in Ireland was ordained at St Peter's Cathedral in Belfast yesterday.
Manuelito Muga Milo (29) a native of Albuquerque, Bohol, was ordained by Most Reverend Noel Treanor, Bishop of the Diocese of Down and Connor.
Friends, family and ecclesiastical colleagues had travelled from around the world to the west Belfast venue to be present at the historic occasion.
Rev Milo told Philippines newspaper the Bohol Chronicle that his journey to the priesthood was a "payback to God" for saving his life when he was an infant. When he was just two, Manuelito's life was threatened by severe convulsions.
Although eminent Filipino medics recommended surgery, his parents Danny and Victoria instead prayed for God to bring healing to their little son, known as 'Emem'.
Fr Milo moved to Northern Ireland from the Philippines in 2007, studying initially at St Malachy's Seminary, Belfast, and then philosophical studies at Queen's University, where he graduated in 2011. He later studied at St Patrick's Pontifical University, Maynooth, and has worked in various parishes including St Luke's Twinbrook, Corpus Christi, Belfast, and most recently in Kirkinriola Parish in Ballymena.
On Christmas Eve last year, he was ordained a Deacon in St Vincent de Paul's Parish, Ligoniel.
At yesterday's ceremony. Bishop Treanor told him: "We rejoice in the fact that you are the first of the new Irish to be ordained for service in our diocese.
"At this joyful moment in your life we are particularly conscious of the links in faith and Christian solidarity between our two peoples and of the work of thousands of Irish missionaries and religious in the Philippines."
The bishop paid tribute to the contribution of Filipino families in Northern Ireland society adding: "We pray that through your priestly ministry this living communion in faith will be enriched, as this society in Northern Ireland grows to reflect the rich mosaic of the human family through the presence and work among us of people from many nations."
Last night Fr Milo said: "Thank you very much for all the prayers, greetings, and support."