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From herds-boy to Jesuit deacon

Augostine Ekeno SJ, ex-assistant director of AJAN

The dream that I wished to come true about 15 years ago came to realization on Valentine’s Day this year. On 14 February, I and 17 other African Jesuits were ordained deacons, which is a significant step towards priesthood.

The day marked an important stage of a dream that has preoccupied my mind as a herds-boy in the plains of northern Kenya. I used to dream of the day when I would become a ‘shepherd’ looking after God’s people as a Jesuit priest.

The journey I have taken so far is also thanks to the many wonderful people I encountered during my formation. One such ‘family’ for me has been the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN). I did my regency (a practical placement that Jesuits in formation undertake between studies) at AJAN, serving as assistant director from 2009 to 2011.

The exemplary servant leadership of the founding director, Fr Michael Czerny SJ, and his equally inspiring successor, Fr Paterne Mombe SJ, taught me how to be a good Jesuit. Their immeasurable commitment to those affected and infected by HIV/AIDS reflects the kind of ‘shepherd’ that I dreamed of being as a herds-boy. I treasure the AJAN experience for infusing within me a great sense of care for those who are sick in our society.

Ekeno will now go for further theology studies before being ordained to the priesthood.