give me 5 is a series in our Vincentian Voices newsletter that asks five random questions to an Eastern Province Priest or Brother.

Meet Fr. Joseph Ita-Sam, CM, in this edition.

Fr. Joseph Ita-Sam, CM, serves the Germantown neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at Saint Vincent de Paul Church. The community is diverse in every sense.

Born in Nigeria, his journey as a Vincentian has taken him far. In addition to being a Vincentian, he’s a therapist, holding a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from La Salle University. He’s worked at Saint Vincent’s, located just to the Southwest of the university, since 2018.

Let’s learn a little about his experiences with these five questions:

Fr. Joseph Ita-Sam, CM

Fr. Joseph Ita-Sam, CM

What can you say about your community in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia?

“We have Black, White, Latino, and other populations. So, it’s diverse in culture but also in ideology in the sense that the people we serve, they are people from different backgrounds and different understandings.”

“Sometimes, it makes the work a little bit complex, but it’s very good because it opens the mind for every other possibility and learning.”

“You can never say that you totally understand other people’s cultures. So, I tried to see how much I could step in and not allow [differences in] culture to be a barrier for my service to them.”

Fr. Joseph Ita-Sam, CM

What would you say is your community’s greatest need?

“In looking at Germantown as a whole, it’s not about what people could get because we have a lot of resources such as food, clothing, housing, but we need personnel who can send those resources out to people so that they can be able to benefit from those resources.”

Fr. Joseph Ita-Sam, CM

What inspired you to become a Vincentian?

“When I finished high school, I was into music and I was working with a music team at one of the Vincentian retreats in Lagos [Nigeria] in 2002. So, I learned a great deal about them from being with that music team. I got to know the Vincentians and see the good works their priests did in Lagos: to go out, see the poor, give food.”

“The work they did inspired me a lot and I said to myself, ‘Oh, this is what you can do to make a contribution to humanity.’”

“The Vincentians are not a loud kind of people. They are just on the ground, and they are doing good jobs.”

Fr. Joseph Ita-Sam, CM

Learn How Vincentians in the United States’ Eastern Province Are Recommitting to Their Mission Heading Into Their 400th Anniversary

With 400 years of Vincentian brothers and priests approaching, is it possible to put your contributions into that perspective?

“In my own little capacity, I see some of the things we do as seeds being planted. And definitely, I pray they’re going to grow. I may not be here to see it grow or see it mature.”

 “Some of our brothers whose seeds were planted 400 years ago, it is something we are reaping today. So, I just hope  the little efforts we make manifest.”

Fr. Joseph Ita-Sam, CM

You have a healthy Facebook and YouTube following. What would you say to a priest, brother, sister, or average person who wants to build a social media presence?

“Everyone that wants to begin, please start. Just begin. You do not need to get the best video camera and the best editing machine. No. Just begin.”

“There is no perfect video out there. Don’t think, ‘This has to be the best.’ The best video out there is the one that makes an impact on someone’s life.”

“What is most important is we use social media in a proper way to make meaning to others and not to be destructive.”

Fr. Joseph Ita-Sam, CM

Thank you for reading!


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