Emmanuel Ezeh - from Altar Server to Seminary
When did you start thinking about priesthood?
The knowledge gained through my parents in the faith and teachings of the Church inspired within me a deep desire to serve God in the priestly vocation. My journey began as an altar server at a young age, where my fervent curiosity led me to contemplate the priesthood. Over time, this yearning evolved into the pursuit of a comprehensive understanding of my faith and its practices. Growing up in a Catholic household and actively participating in the Mass planted a seed in me – a perspective that sees people through the lens of God’s love. It has furthered in me a profound love for service, founded on the joy of sharing with others. My sole aim is to be a conduit of Christ’s light, radiating through a life of prayer and good works. Through the proclamation of the Gospel, I wish to inspire those I encounter to know and love.
What helped you to make the decision?
My commitment to the discernment group has played a pivotal role in shaping my understanding of the priesthood and the responsibilities of a diocesan priest within the Church and wider society. Through discernment meetings, I had the opportunity to explore my vocation, contemplating my passionate aspiration to serve both God and humanity. These sessions have been instrumental in deepening my love for God through prayer, meditation, spiritual direction, adoration and the study of scriptures. The idea of pursuing the priesthood was accompanied by a strong belief and trust in this chosen path. Even before expressing my intention to the Vocations Director, I have been fortunate to receive unwavering support on this journey from my parents, siblings, relatives and friends.
How was your year in propaedeutic seminary?
Embarking on the Propaedeutic year in Valladolid, Spain, was a transformative experience that has prepared me for the vigorous studies of the major seminary. Immersing myself in the Spanish culture added an extra layer to my formation across the four dimensions. My encounter with the local Catholic traditions gave me a broader perspective of the universal Church. Taking part in the Holy Week parades certainly became a highlight of my time there. As I delved into studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the overall experience deepened my commitment to the core teachings of the Church and fostered a conviction to love and promote its principles.
You are now in Maynooth Seminary. How has this experience been so far?
My time in Maynooth has been incredibly positive and enriching thus far. The life of the seminary and formation here is holistic, encouraging growth in the spiritual, pastoral, human and intellectual strands essential to the life of priests. Our personal development is facilitated through community worship, spiritual direction, pastoral placements, and formal lessons. Maynooth provides an ideal setting for moments of stillness, personal prayer and meditation. All of this has been instrumental in cultivating an openness to the workings of the Holy Spirit and a heightened attentiveness to God’s will, which I consider integral to the process of conversion. Understanding that the journey of conversion involves both opportunities and challenges, I have found the structured life of prayer and study, under the guidance of my formators, invaluable in nurturing a progressively deeper relationship with Christ Jesus.