My name is Kingsley Chidiebere Dibia, I am 23 years old, born into the family of Mr Christian and Mrs Virginia Dibia.
I am the last child out of five, three boys and two girls. This made for a childhood full of life and creative adventures.
I lived in a small town called Obizi, Ezinihitte Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria.
While a public school education did not afford much in the formation of the faith, my mind and heart grew to appreciate and engage the spiritual world of divine love and grace through the witness of my parent’s lives and a good experience I had when I was attending a Catholic high school (junior/minor seminary).
A life-changing moment
I joined the minor seminary with my elder brother. It was in the minor seminary that I received the invitation to share in God’s divine love, to become a priest and allow God’s will to be done in my life.
It all started the first time I was exposed to Eucharistic Adoration in the minor seminary. I remember gazing at the Eucharist and being pierced to the heart, knowing how Christ died on the cross for the sake of my sins. Tears rolled down my face, and my heart was filled with invitation.
I was overwhelmed by God’s personal love for me. As I began my high school, I had no choice of becoming a priest but after my encounter with the Eucharist, I started making a shift towards God's invitation and to allow his will to be done in my life.
I knew God had a plan for me and I wanted to live it. However, many activities and passions filled my high school days. When it was time to graduate and look for a college, one priority rose above all the others.
I wanted to go somewhere I could nourish the seed of faith planted during my encounter and let God’s plan for my life unfold. As my heart received the grace of this call, I could see God’s presence of mercy and love in every moment of my life. He continues to draw me deeper and deeper into the inexhaustible beauty and gift of this love today.
Joining the seminary
With the grace of God, I did my spiritual year (first year programme) in the seminary, then was among those chosen after the interview to continue my seminary training at the major seminary (Seat of Wisdom major seminary Ariam, Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria), where I started my 1st year Philosophy.
During my time as a seminarian, I was sent to different places, villages and parts of rural areas for pastoral work, I got in contact with the people, helped them and worked with them well. The most interesting one was in my third year in the seminary (third year philosophy). I was posted to work in a small village with many difficulties because the people were really suffering and needed the word of God and sacraments. I got enticed and happy in these works and I started developing love for missionary work. I wished to do more missionary work in the future.
A call to mission in Australia
With much hope, I prayed until the day I met Rev Father Gerard Mackie in Nigeria. He is an Australian priest and he helped me in answering my call for missionary work in Australia.
Coming to Australia for the first time, I noticed many cultural differences, in the way of speaking, relating with one another, and in all aspects of life. But with the Roman saying: "Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more" ("When in Rome, do as the Romans"), I was able to adapt and see Australia as the society in which I would be living.
Life as a seminarian
Life as a seminarian is similar to that of other students. Seminarians take classes with a particular emphasis on philosophy and theology and enjoy time with other students on campus. It also includes daily Mass, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, regular conferences, days of recollection, apostolic work, and devotions, as well as time for study and recreation.
St John Paul II outlined in his Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores Dabo Vobis, four essential areas of a seminarian’s preparation for the priestly vocation. These four areas of seminary life are human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation.
I have already done my philosophy in Nigeria, then did 1 year of pastoral work here in Australia at Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish, East Lake Macquarie. I am currently doing my First year programme in the seminary and by God’s grace will be starting my Theological studies next year. With the decision of my Bishop and the seminary, I will be ordained a priest when suitable and after my Theological studies.
For those discerning their vocation
I seek to encourage young people like me and all others seeking to discern for a vocation to the priesthood with the quote from Pope Francis: “The vocation is truly a treasure that God places in the hearts of some men, chosen by Him and called to follow Him in this special state of life. This treasure, that must be discovered and brought to light, is not made to ‘enrich’ someone alone. He who is called to the ministry is not the ‘master’ of his vocation, but rather the administrator of a gift that God has entrusted to him for the good of all the people, or rather for all humanity, even those who have drifted away from religious practice or do not profess faith in Christ.”