Six men ordained to the transitional diaconate April 30

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Archbishop Robert J. Carlson will ordain six men to the transitional diaconate at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 30, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

They are Michael Lampe, Clark Philipp and John Schneier, who will be ordained for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Lampe and Schneier attend Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Shrewsbury, and Philipp is stationed at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Joining them will be Joseph Lugalambi and Matthias Njuba, to be ordained for the Diocese of Masaka, Uganda; and Laurent-Bernard Okitakatshi Odjango, to be ordained for the Dicoese of Tshumbe, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Transitional deacons are seminarians in their last year of preparation for ordination to the priesthood. A transitional deacon may baptize, distribute Communion, witness marriages and lead rites for Christian burial. The seminarians are expected to complete their master of divinity degree by spring 2017 from Kenrick School of Theology. Each is also working toward completion of his master of arts in theology. Philipp is working toward a bachelor's degree in sacred theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. He will begin his studies toward a licentiate in theology next year.

In addition, nine other Kenrick-Glennon seminarians will be ordaind this spring to the transitional diaconate for other dioceses. They are Evaristus Ucheonye, Diocese of Belize City and Belmopan, Belize; Gregory Luger, Diocese of Bismarck, N.D.; Paul Clark, Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo.; Nicholas Mishek and Scott Schilmoeller, Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb.; Justin Palmer, Diocese of Selena, Kan.; Ron Lorilla, Diocese of Springfield, Ill.; and Jacob Carlin and Andrew Hoffman, Diocese of Wichita, Kan.

Michael Lampe

Home parish: Epiphany of Our Lord, south St. Louis

Education: Bishop DuBourg High School, bachelor's and master's degrees in nuclear engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla

Supervised ministry: Annunciation in Webster Groves, St. Joseph in Imperial, Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, St. Patrick in Wentzville; St. Michael the Archangel in Shrewsbury

Why you were called to the priesthood: As a boy I drifted away from the faith and had not practiced it for many years. In college, I had a personal encounter with Christ and became active with the Catholic Newman Center. It was then that I started to think about priesthood, but at that time I desired marriage and family more than priesthood. But as I grew closer to God, the call to the priesthood also grew. After graduating, I worked for a few years as an engineer in Illinois. There, it became clear that God wanted me to become a priest. Although it was challenging to end the career I had started, I quit my job and returned to St. Louis to enter the seminary. I look forward to my ordination so that I may serve the people of God and share in love and joy with them.​

Joseph Lugalambi

Home parish: St. Charles Lwanga, Kalungu, Masaka Diocese, Uganda

Education: St. Michael's College, Butende; Holy Family Bukalasa Minor Seminary; St. Thomas Aquinas Katigondo National Major Seminary (bachelor's degree in philosophy and diploma in social sciences)

Supervised ministry: Cure of Ars, Shrewsbury; St. Michael the Archangel, Shrewsbury

Why you were called to the priesthood: I went to a Muslim grade school. One day, the associate pastor from my home parish visited our school and had Mass for us. The Catholic students told him of the problems we were going through at that school. He was so compassionate. After meeting us, he talked to the principal and things started to get better. I admired to become a priest like him so as to help students in non-Catholic schools. Thanks be to God that He heard my prayer!

Clark Philipp

Home parish: St. Joseph, Cottleville

Education: De Smet Jesuit High School, bachelor's degree, Cardinal Glennon College, currently studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome

Supervised ministry: Archdiocesan Office of Vocations; St. Joseph, Imperial

Why you were called to the priesthood: Throughout grade school, I served the Mass and found delight in it. When I entered high school, I got involved with youth group and began to pray more consistently. Through several weeks spent at the seminary during high school for service camps and Kenrick-Glennon Days, I met some of the seminarians — guys who were interested in philosophy and answered the questions I had about the faith. In prayer and through those encounters with the seminarians, I saw men who loved Jesus Christ and lived their lives for Him. I began to think that I might be able to live that life as well. Especially during the Paschal Triduum and Octave of Easter my last year of high school, God gave me the grace and courage I needed to take the plunge and test a vocation to the priesthood in the seminary. Since that time, He has brought me a long way and planted in my heart a great love for Him, a love that I desire to share with others. I look forward to serving the people of the archdiocese and sharing with them the pearl of great price, which I have found.

Matthias Njuba

Home parish: St. Charles Lwanga, Kalungu, Masaka Diocese, Uganda

Education: Sacred Heart, Kiteredde; St. Bernards, Kiswera; St. Mbaaga's Seminary, Ggaba (bachelor's degree in philosophy)

Supervised ministry: St. James the Greater, Dogtown; St. Simon the Apostle, south St. Louis County

Why you were called to the priesthood: In 1998, at the age of 11, I sensed a calling to the priesthood. I had joined "Banna-Kizito" Catholic group at my parish. (St. Kizito is the patron saint of children in Uganda.) In this group, I learned to serve at Mass, and one time I was chosen to serve at an ordination Mass. I told my parents the joy that I experienced that day and I remember telling them: "In the future, I want to be a priest." My parents were happy and promised to support me in all ways possible. I am grateful to God for those He chose Himself to journey with to this moment of my priestly formation.

Laurent-Bernard Okitakatshi Odjango

Home parish: St. Desire, Lodja, Diocese of Tshumbe, Democratic Republic of Congo

Education: St. Gabriel high school seminary; Paul VI Seminary College; John Paul II Theological Seminary

Supervised ministry: St. Norbert, Florissant; St. Mary Magdalen, Brentwood; Immacolata, Richmond Heights

Why you were called to the priesthood: I felt called to the holy priesthood since an early age. As an altar boy in my parish, I admired so much the beauty of the eucharistic celebration and the irreplaceable role of the priest in the life of our parish. The desire to be like the priest I was serving at Mass invaded my heart so much that I decided to go to the high school seminary after graduating from elementary school. Both my parents and my pastor encouraged my decision and offered me a tremendous support throughout my discernment process. I joined the high school seminary when I was 12, and since then, with the help of God, I have been maturing my conviction to become a priest according to the Heart of Jesus.

John Schneier

Home parish: St. Ferdinand, Florissant

Education: St. Louis University High School,bachelor's degree Cardinal Glennon College

Supervised ministry: Immaculate Conception, Arnold; St. James the Greater, Dogtown; St. Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist, north St. Louis

Why you were called to the priesthood: My family was always very involved in St. Ferdinand Parish, so I got to know my parish priests fairly well. Their example was very influential for me. The idea of being a priest was never something too far from my mind; it was something I could see myself doing, even when I thought about other careers as a kid. However, it wasn't until high school that I began to seriously think about entering the seminary. Through my time of discernment, I came to understand that seminarians were simply ordinary men, striving for extraordinary things; they were human beings, but called by God to a life that pointed to something greater. What attracted me most about the priesthood is that the priest has the power to literally bring Christ to the world. The priest is called to be an alter Christus, or "another Christ" and bring Christ's presence to those most in need of Him, especially through the Eucharist and other sacraments. 

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