Tomorrow, on the weekend of the Sacred Heart, two novices in the Society of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart—a.k.a. the Josephites—will make their first profession.
Dominic Njoku and Ezekiel Esezobor, both from Nigeria, will make their promises at historic St Augustine Catholic Church in New Roads, Louisiana on Sunday, June 13th at 11am CST, during the regular weekend Mass.
The church is located across the street from the Josephites’ Mary Immaculate Novitiate, where the two seminarians have resided for the last year under the direction of novice master Fr Roderick J. D. Coates, SSJ.
Following their profession, Njoku and Esezobor will return to Washington, D.C. to resume classes this Fall at the Catholic University of America (where most of the Josephite seminarians currently study), residing at the society’s St. Joseph Seminary nearby.
They will swap places with the incoming class of novices, who will complete their year in New Orleans beginning on July 1st.
The Josephites are the only society of priests in America dedicated specifically to serving the African-American community, and for at least a decade have relied heavily on vocations from Nigeria.
Vocations director Fr Stephen Sohe, SSJ, recently announced a new class of 10 students accepted into St. Joseph the Worker House of Formation in Iperu-Remo, Ogun State, whittled down from a hefty number of applicants.
The most recent issue of the Josephite Harvest—the society’s quarterly publication and the oldest missions magazine in the country—also included a story on the two newest major seminarians for the society: Justus Ihemawulotu and Alexander Lema.
They will join Njoku, Esezobor, and the other Josephite seminarians at CUA and St. Joseph’s this Fall.
This Sunday’s Mass at St Augustine will be streamed on the church’s Facebook page.
Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, in priesthood formation with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).