Birthday: March 16th
Home Parish: St. Albert the Great, Austin
Level of Formation: II Pre-Theology
Seminary: St. Joseph Seminary
I was born into a Catholic family of late Mr. Onyema Michael Ohaeri and Mrs. Ngozi Theresa Ohaeri on 16th day of March, 1987. I am a native of Umubaa Ala-Ala Amuzukwu Ibeku in Umuahia North Local Government Area, Abia State, Nigeria, West Africa. I have seven siblings, four brothers and three sisters of which I am the baby of the house. All of my brothers and sisters are active and strong practicing Catholics.
I grew up and studied in the Eastern part of Nigeria. My family was my first educator. They were very supportive of my educational process and my decision to be a Catholic priest. They helped to promote my academic excellence and moral values. I modeled my dad in learning and developing my passion for nature and patience in life. In general, we played, labored, sheared ideas, and most importantly prayed together as one family.
I received the sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion, and Confirmation at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, my home parish in Nigeria. I have always wanted to serve God and humanity. At an early stage in my life, I willingly joined (with my mother) the parish choir and was the youngest among the choristers in my parish. This merited my sitting in the front pews of the choir stand, where I admired the beauty of the altar and sanctuary. I later joined my brothers, who were my sole inspiration and role models, in serving at Mass.
My journey to the Altar, started after watching the solemn procession and recession of my pastor, visiting priests, seminarians, and altar servers during Mass and other liturgical celebrations. The happiness and joy I observed captured my interest in joining the altar servers. My membership as a growing child in the parish choir, altar servers, catholic youth organization, legion of Mary and Divine Mercy prayer group attracted many young parishioners to join the groups as well.
Before my transition to America, I worked in a major seminary in Nigeria as a librarian. While in the seminary, I read a few theology books and vocation stories of missionary priests from different parts of the world. These stories greatly inspired and influenced me more. My desire for priesthood soared high while working and living among priests and seminarians in the seminary.
I appreciated the way priests and seminarians prayed the Divine Office and diligently carried out their pastoral activities. This re-awakened my dream and burning zeal once more to serve God. This period was so unique in my history because of the happiness I shared with the priests and seminarians in praying, playing and dinning together. After reading and listening to different vocation stories from a few seminarians (all of which were very similar to what I was experiencing in my life), I talked to my “Corridor of Vocations" about an undoubting hope in my heart of becoming a Catholic priest.
I had a smooth transition to America and kept my hope of becoming a seminarian and a Catholic priest alive. I identified with the Catholic Church in United States and served as an Extra-Ordinary Eucharistic Minister, altar server and a member of the Knights of Columbus. My spiritual director encouraged me to apply to the Diocese of Austin; I did and got accepted.
Currently, I am a seminarian in my first year of pre-theology studies at St. Joseph Seminary College in Covington, LA. I believe that the seminary will foster and encourage self-discipline, self-respect, respect for others, and growth in learning. I also strongly believe that the Diocese of Austin will lead me to an encounter with the living God and an opportunity to share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, as well as a deeper engagement in the service of God and humanity.