Very Rev. Paul Ugochukwu (Ugo) Arinze, born 12/12/72 is the son of Sir Michael and Virginia Arinze (K.S.J) of Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria, West Africa. He is the sixth of eighth children; five boys and three girls. His father died in August of 2006 and his mother is still living.
He attended St. Thomas Grade School, Christ the King College High School, and Saint John Bosco minor Seminary, all in Nigeria. He had one year of spiritual formation at Holy Family Spiritual Formation Center in Nigeria prior to entering Bigard Memorial Seminary for college in Enugu, Nigeria, an affiliate of the Pontifical Urban University, Rome. Fr. Paul obtained bachelors of Philosophy degree from the Pontifical Urban University, Rome, magna cum laude and a diploma in Latin Language from the same university. He also holds a diploma in Communication from the Dons Scotus School of Journalism, Enugu, Nigeria.
On August 18, 1995 Fr. Paul arrived in Madison and resided at St. Raphael Cathedral rectory. In September of that year, through the recommendation of the late Bishop William H. Bullock, he entered University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois, north of Chicago, beginning his studies for priesthood for the diocese of Madison. In 1997 Fr. Paul moved to St. Peter’s rectory, Madison, which became his home parish away from home.
Fr. Paul did his internship at Holy Ghost Parish Dickeyville, in the spring of 1997. His clinical pastoral education was taken at Bethany Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas during the summer of 1998. Fr. Paul was ordained a deacon of the Church on Sunday, November 22, 1998 (Feast of Christ the King) at Queen of Peace Church, Madison through the hands of the late Bishop George O. Wirz, Auxiliary Bishop of Madison. On weekends he traveled to St. Bernard Parish, Middleton, where he served the parish as a transitional deacon.
While at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois, he obtained a Baccalaureate Degree in Sacred Theology in 1998 and Master of Divinity Degree in 1999 summa cum laude. He was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on Friday, May 28, 1999 through the hands of the late Bishop William H. Bullock. Fr. Paul’s ordination was the first ordination for the diocese in five years. His first public Mass was at St. Peter’s Church in Madison on May 30, 1999.
On June 30, 1999, Fr. Paul became the parochial vicar at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Church, Sun Prairie. While at Sacred Hearts he was involved with the school and the parish youth activities. On June 13, 2001 Fr. Paul was named pastor of St. Ignatius Church, Mt. Horeb and Holy Redeemer Church, Perry. In Mt. Horeb, Fr. Paul continued reaching out to the young people of the parish through various programs and was a member of the diocesan youth council. On June 11, 2003, Fr. Paul was named Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. While in Dodgeville, Fr. Paul continued his outreach to young people through the parochial school and faith formation. On December 26, 2010, Fr. Paul was named the Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Madison. His time at the vocation office saw a steady growth in the number of seminarians. On May 18, 2013, Fr. Paul was named pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Beloit and the Vicar Forane for the Rock-Green Vicariate.
Besides his primary duties, Fr. Paul serves as a member of the diocesan Presbyteral Council, Board of Consultors, Camp Gray Board, Vocations Screening Committee, and Advocate at the Diocese Marriage Tribunal. Fr. Paul enjoys outdoor activities. Tennis is his favorite sport and he is a certified International Tennis Federation Chair Umpire and Line Umpire. He has officiated at the highest levels of tennis in different capacities including US Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon, Paralympics games of London Olympic Games, and numerous other ATP, WTA, and USTA tournaments. He also likes biking, jet skiing and going to the gym. Fr. Paul enjoys traveling and sightseeing. He believes there is much to be learned from visiting different cities and countries of the world. Fr. Paul has dual citizenship and holds both United States and Nigerian passports. Fr. Paul is looking forward to meeting the parishioners of OLA and also teaching in OLA School and Faith Formation. He enjoys celebrating the sacraments and loves good and prayerful liturgy.