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From Kenya to Christ the King Seminary

Oct. 18, 2017

By Cathy Russell
Diocesan Vocation Coordinator

Fifth in a series

Meet John Kennedy Ojuok! Ojouk

John brings a wide range of life experience to our diocese. A native of Kenya, he is the youngest in his family with one sister and two brothers. John’s father died but his mother remains in Kenya, raising six orphaned children as her own.

In Kenya, John attended a minor seminary, like our high school in the United States. After his high school, John attended the Consolata Institute, a branch of the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome, Italy.

John has had the opportunity to experience many forms of pastoral care. While studying, John worked with the poor in the slums of Nairobi. He ministered to those affected by the AIDS epidemic. In the hospital, he visited and cared for the sick and lonely who had no one else. He has prepared people to receive the sacraments. He taught and ministered to street children.

While living religious life in two different congregations, John discerned the call to diocesan priesthood. During his time with one of those congregations, John was introduced to our diocese and he fell in love with the bishop, priests, the people he met and the beautiful landscape that reminded him so much of home. He was able to spend several months at St. Bartholomew’s in Old Forge ministering in the parish.

John has begun his theological studies at Christ The King Seminary in East Aurora. “I am very happy here,” he said. “The people at the seminary are wonderful and kind and the peace I experience here, allows for reflection and prayer.”

John’s faith hero is St. John the Baptist (when Christ increases I decrease, the profound humility St. John had).
In his spare time, you can find John playing soccer or hiking. It was Father Philip Allen and Father Howard Venette who introduced him to hiking, though he readily admits he has a hard time keeping up with them!

John’s favorite scripture passage is from Luke 11: “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” The wisdom of this verse is “the assurance that the best way to communicate with God is through prayer, He listens and He answers,” John said. “Prayer is the most powerful tool we have.”

In answer to why he wants to be a priest, John said, “I want to bring people closer to God through my actions, deeds and way of life.”

That desire can be the desire of each one of us! Welcome, John, to our diocese and thank you for your YES.

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