By Emilie Ng
DEACON Leonard Uzuegbu has been listening to God’s voice calling him to the priesthood for the past 10 years.
The Nigerian-born deacon, who has been assisting at Masses at St Stephen’s Cathedral, will be ordained a priest on June 27.
He began discerning the priesthood after leaving high school in 1996 when he began working as a catechist in his home parish for eight years.
“Within that time I developed that feeling of joining the priesthood,” he said.
“I felt deep within my heart that call of God.”
The deacon joined the seminary in 2004, living in a discernment house, and completing his studies in philosophy and theology.
“Within these years, I have been hearing God’s voice, and His voice continued to grow louder and louder,” he said.
“So I have come to conclusion that this is actually what God wants me to do.”
Deacon Uzuegbu arrived in Brisbane in 2011 and next month will celebrate three years living in Australia.
He has served his pastoral placement at parishes in Redcliffe, Albany Creek, Sandgate-Brighton, Hendra, and is back at the cathedral for a second time.
One month out from his ordination, Deacon Uzuegbu said he still had “mixed-feelings” because of the “unknowns of the job of a priest”.
“There have been ups and downs, challenges, pressures from the world, and I’m asking myself if this is what God wants from me,” he said.
“In the midst of that mixed feeling, there is that voice that is telling me to calm down, keep going.
“God is in control. He knows about tomorrow. Since He is the one calling me, He will definitely make a way.
“I’m happy that I’m still hearing that voice to follow.”
Deacon Uzuegbu’s “pillar of support” was his family, whom he will visit after he has been ordained.
“When I speak to them on the phone they say, ‘Don’t worry, I’m praying for you’,” he said.
“It gives me courage that some people are thinking about me.”
On his return to Australia as a priest, Deacon Uzuegbu had “no expectations” about where Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge and the Holy Spirit would place him, and said he was “very open to go wherever the Spirit” wants him.
“If I’m within the Cathedral, I will be happy, but if I’m asked to move, then I will gladly move,” he said.