Deacon Angelbert Chikere shares some of his thoughts as he prepares for Ordination on Monday, September 7, at 9:00 am. Please keep him and the two other men to be ordained in your prayers and watch Ordination Mass live on our Facebook page.
Q. How does it feel, after years of study at the seminary, to be ordained to the priesthood?
It is a great relief to be done with that part of the formation process, as my mind and heart are now fully open for ministry.
Q. What did you do before you became a priest?
I worked in the Social Justice field: writing columns, op-ed(s), poems, creating cartoons (gags, satires, etc.), and working with an NGO to give voice to the voiceless.
Q. Who influenced you to consider the vocation to the priesthood?
Many people have influenced me along the way, but they all stemmed from my older brothers, who were very active in Church programs and one of my childhood Pastors (Parish Priest) – Fr. Suh. So, from the age of 10 or 11, the compass was pointing and leading me in this direction – even as I journeyed through hills and valleys.
Q. What does it mean to become a priest during the COVID pandemic?
I think it is a blessing and, in some very trivial way, “a curse.” It is a “curse” because all friends, family, loved ones, and parishioners who journeyed with me to this point can’t be physically present to witness this blessing. And it is a BLESSING, because I am being ordained during a time when humanity confronts the two-sides of her deepest truth: side-one being our limitation and weakness in the face of situations we cannot control – which therefore speaks to our NEED for God and side-two being the realization and absolute need for collaboration among us to fight the COVID virus – which speaks to the beauty of our shared humanity.
Q: What are you looking most forward to in your ministry as a priest?
I am looking forward to “love and encounter” with God and with the people of God or to phrase it in another way, borrowing from Pope Francis, I am looking forward “to smell like the sheep that I will shepherd.”
Q. What advice would you give to a man who is contemplating a vocation to the priesthood?
Pray and be open to follow. Let God lead, because it is not about you; it is about the Lord’s plan for you.