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Our Seminarians > Seminarian Charles Onyeneke

Seminarian Charles Onyeneke

Seminary / Stage of Study:St Mary’s Seminary/University, Baltimore – 2nd Year Theology.
Interests: Moral theology, Soccer, reading, a and teaching.

Vocation Story: My desire for the priesthood started right from my childhood at the age of eight. Maybe, due to the fact that I grew up to see myself in an environment that has faith in God. I have seven siblings (three males and four females), and I am the last child. Growing up in my family was lovely although there were some difficulties but we were taught by my parents that with love of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist; difficulties are annihilated. It is this love of Christ in the Eucharist that made me enroll as an altar server as of the age of eleven to be more close with Christ in the Eucharist.
Being an altar server at my parish in Nigeria, I fall in love with what priest "do" in the Eucharistic celebration, changing wine and bread into the blood and body of Christ. For me, I want to be like him (the Priest), celebrating the Eucharistic and serving the people. It is on this Zeal that I applied to become a priest.

Seminaries attended and Degrees: Led by a committed zeal to serve God Priest and minister to God's people, I started my seminary journey at St Peter Claver Seminary, Okpala, Nigeria in 1998-2001, where I took the High School Certificate Examination (SSCE) in 2004. The same year, upon Rector's recommendation, I was posted to Owerri Archdiocesan Secretariat for one-year pastoral experience, which ended in 2005. I was thus recommended for the next level, namely, one year of spiritual formation, Nigeria.

At the end of my spiritual year formation in 2006, the Archbishop of Owerri, sent me to Seat of Wisdom Seminary, Owerri, to begin my philosophical studies. My studies in philosophy ended successfully in 2010, with B.A in Philosophy of the Imo State University, Owerri (to which my seminary was locally affiliated) and B. Phil in Philosophy of the Pontifical Urban University, Rome (to which my seminary was ecclesiastically affiliated). I was then sent to a mission school, namely Father Cloonan Memorial Secondary School, Nigeria, for a senior one-year pastoral experience. There at Father Cloonan, I worked as a teacher and as Dean of Student Affairs. Relying on the recommendation of the Priest-Principal of Father Cloonan Secondary School, my bishop sent me back to Seat of Wisdom Seminary Owerri to begin my theological studies. My studies in theology ended in 2015, with B.A in Theology of the Imo State University, Owerri and B. D in Theology of the Pontifical Urban University, Rome. Then, I decided to move to America for further studies. At Saint Leo University, I lived in the apartment owned by the Monks of Saint Benedict; This gave me the opportunity to be closer to the Church, and to enhance my spirituality and devotions by following the monks to prayers and masses, while at the same time disposing myself to accept whatever is God’s will for my vocation to the priesthood. In November 2016, I started my application process into the diocese of Albany and was accepted. My first summer placement was at Holy Trinity Parish in Cohoes. Thus, with the combination of Summer placement and my remaining academic studies, I graduated with MA in theology in 2017 at Saint Leo University.  

Finally, it is important to note that over the years, I have learned to build my life (my vocation) in and around the Holy Eucharist, which is indeed the source and summit of the whole Christian life.  The Eucharist not only consoles me in awkward moments but also strengthens me when I feel oppressed. Thus, just like Elijah ate the bread so as to become stronger for the task ahead, so the Eucharist does for me each day.

Quotes: Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. (Psalm 125:1).

A spiritual leader will first and foremost have a calling from God. His work will not be his profession, but his calling - Zac Poonen.

God will ensure my success in accordance with his plan, not mine – Francis Chan.


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