Young priest takes on new roles

When a man enters formation for religious life, it’s often said that he is “answering God’s call.” But that’s not the end of the conversation. The truth is that the calls keep coming, even after becoming a priest or religious brother.

Fr. John Yangia, SVD knew that his congregation, Divine Word Missionaries, would ask him to take on new roles after his 2018 ordination. Afterall, that’s how a young priest learns. Still, he was a little surprised by some of these new assignments and couldn’t help but to question if he was the right guy for the jobs. 

Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, he did his religious formation in his homeland and then moved to the USA in 2015 to learn English at Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa. After completing his language studies and spending some time doing parish work in Tallahassee, Florida, he returned to his home country and was ordained in 2018. 

Fr. John spent a year working in a parish in Kinshasa and then relocated to another diocese for two years. Next, he was assigned to work as the director of a spiritual retreat center. In addition, he was asked to serve as a vocation director, which meant meeting with young men and helping them explore whether they, too, could be called to religious life. This particular role caused Fr. John to pause. Could he really be ready to accompany others on their discernment journey when he himself was just recently ordained? He was surprised and felt a bit of pressure. 

When presented with a new responsibility, Fr. John said he takes time to dialogue with God about it. He frames the conversation like a child speaking to a parent. “I think that’s a big part of what we should include in our life, to talk with God,” he said. “To tell Him ‘I can’t do that, without you I can’t do it. So, since you want me to be there, help me.’”  

After some prayer and reflection, Fr. John decided to take on the challenge. It’s a role he doesn’t take lightly. Not only is he helping young people decide their futures, but he’s also playing a part in preparing the men who will become his confreres and the future of the Society of the Divine Word.

Fr. John meets with prospective candidates, gets to know their families and even spends time with their parish priests. He prays with the young men, communicates with them and provides guidance during their early discernment. 

Just when he felt like he was settling into his new roles, another opportunity was presented. This time, it came directly from the Superior General of the Society of the Divine Word. Fr. John was asked to be a coordinator for the Arnold Janssen Spirituality Network and serve as a representative for the AFRAM Zone

Again, Fr. John had a chat with God and a few of his confreres. “I took time to pray and to think to myself if I am worthy to do this,” he said. He decided to again put his faith in God and trust that he was being chosen for this new opportunity because the Superior General believed that he capable. 

Today, Fr. John continues to grow in his own faith while doing his best to share God’s love with those who he encounters in his many roles as a Divine Word Missionary. 

The AFRAM Zone
The AFRAM zone includes 16 countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Chad, Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

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