FAITH JOURNEY TO PRIESTHOOD GAVE PROFOUND CONTENTMENT
Johnpromise Umeozuru was living a comfortable life with a great job and financial security - but he felt something was missing. After acting on an early ambition to become a priest, inspired by a religious teacher, and completing two pontifical degrees as a seminarian in Nigeria he had travelled to England to get experience of the “real world”. But despite taking a Master’s Degree at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and enjoying widespread travel in his social worker job, Johnpromise found that his spiritual thirst was still unquenched.
"I was not fulfilled in my comfortable life because my heart was yearning for something higher," said Johnpromise, aged 37, who grew up as a practising Catholic in South-East Nigeria. “I later discerned through the guidance and support of my long-time spiritual director that God was calling me to dedicate myself totally to Him in the Catholic priesthood.” During his subsequent faith journey Johnpromise felt a “profound sense of consolation, happiness and contentment” as he looked forward to a life with no material possessions.
“On the other hand, there was a deep sense of desolation, sadness and emptiness when I considered hanging on to all I had with all the trappings therein.” The sense of happiness and contentment has stayed with him ever since he enrolled in 2017 for two years’ training at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, near Guildford in Surrey. “There is an inner peace that has enveloped me ever since the Lord came calling once more and that has never left me in my journey of discipleship with the Lord,” he said. “Like St Paul, I count every other thing including the great job, salary and life I had as rubbish for the sake of Christ and his Church.”
Johnpromise’s ordination as a Deacon last year has enabled him to examine on a daily basis his thoughts, words and actions in line with the life of Christ and the teachings of the Church. “I find it liberating to be a servant to all without ulterior motives,” he said. He has also found it “profoundly enriching” to carry out two practical placements while at Wonersh, helping and assisting at Alcoholics Anonymous and attending to the spiritual needs of the female Catholics in HM Prison Send.
Johnpromise, whose home parish is Sacred Heart and St Peter the Apostle, Waterlooville, Havant, looks forward to his priestly ministry when he will “serve the people of God and minister God’s love and mercy to them through the sacraments of the Church”. He invites people in the Diocese to be present at his ordination on July 20 at 11am in St John’s Catholic Cathedral in Portsmouth.