Scott Warden
June 11, 2024 // Bishop

‘A Testament to the Power of Faith and Perseverance’

Scott Warden

At Event Aimed to Support Diocesan Seminarians, Stanley Amuchaka Shares His Powerful Vocation Story

Even before he converted to the faith, Stanley Amuchaka was fascinated by Catholic priests – and the Catholic priesthood – in his home country of Nigeria.

“I had a Catholic friend in my neighborhood who attended Catholic high school seminary,” Amuchaka told a few dozen people gathered in South Bend for an event to support seminarians in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. “I started attending morning Masses with him,” Amuchaka continued, “and the priests would give us candy after Mass.”

Photos by Scott Warden

Little did he know at the time, but God had something much sweeter in store for Amuchaka – and for the diocese.

Amuchaka shared his vocation story on Tuesday, June 4, at The Armory Kitchen in South Bend during Our Shepherds, Our Future – an evening hosted by the Catholic Community Foundation of Northeast Indiana for members of the community called to support the formation of seminarians in the diocese. Amuchaka was joined by Bishop Rhoades, diocesan priests, and other seminarians who shared their experiences of training for a possible vocation in the priesthood.

Amuchaka continued: “As I grew closer to the Catholic Church, I became interested in everything about it. … However, I was afraid to share my desire to join the seminary with my family, as we were not yet Catholic at the time. I confided in my mother about my interest in joining the Catholic seminary high school to learn more about the Catholic Church and the priesthood, but she was hesitant.

“Nevertheless,” Amuchaka said, “God’s plan prevailed,” and he was eventually enrolled in a high school seminary. But there were still barriers to overcome.

The process to join the seminary for his diocese in Nigeria was a competitive one, he said – there were only 15 available spots for the 74 students in his high school class – and his struggle in math class prevented him from being accepted. He was encouraged to discern joining a religious congregation or find another diocese willing to sponsor him. Amuchaka was accepted into an order of religious men, but soon after joining, the order was suspended by the Nigerian bishop overseeing the congregation.

After college, Amuchaka accepted a one-year position at a Catholic mission high school to teach theology. In July of 2022, with his time at the school winding down – and his future uncertain – the Holy Spirit stepped in. And He wasn’t alone.

“Two weeks before my contract ended, Bishop Rhoades showed up, and my journey took an unexpected path,” Amuchaka said.

Bishop Rhoades visited the school during a trip to Nigeria in which he was invited by Father Francis Chukwuma, a native of Nigeria who serves in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend as administrator of Most Precious Blood Parish in Fort Wayne, to ordain priests from two dioceses in the country. After Bishop Rhoades celebrated Mass at the high school, Amuchaka said, he met the bishop and shook his hand.

“I went to my room thinking about his humility and gentleness,” Amuchaka said. “I could not sleep. My heart was telling me something, though I could not imagine how it would happen.”

Immediately after that short encounter, Amuchaka felt inspired to write an application letter to the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend indicating his interest in becoming a diocesan seminarian. Knowing Bishop Rhoades was still visiting, Amuchaka tried to arrange a meeting between the two of them, but the two were unable to connect because of security concerns.

Days later, on the Sunday of that week, Amuchaka accompanied the 1,400 students from the high school to Mass at a parish in a nearby town. “And lo and behold,” Amuchaka said, “it was Bishop Rhoades getting ready to celebrate the Mass.”

Afterward, Father Chukwuma facilitated a meeting between Amuchaka and Bishop Rhoades, who told the young teacher that “it would take a lot to bring a seminarian from Nigeria to the U.S.” but that he would try.

Bishop Rhoades hugs Stanley Amuchaka after Amuchaka shared his vocation story during an event to support seminarians in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend on Tuesday, June 4, at The Armory in South Bend.

“That statement from the bishop gave me a new life,” Amuchaka said, “and renewed my desire to serve God and His people.” In the fall, Amuchaka will begin his first year of seminary for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in southern Indiana. “This is my vocation story,” he concluded – “a testament to the power of faith and perseverance.”

After Amuchaka shared his discernment journey, he was greeted by a hug from Bishop Rhoades.

The night also included a question-and-answer session moderated by Deacon Andrew Barnes, who was ordained to the diaconate in mid-May. Deacon Barnes presented questions asked by the audience to his fellow seminarians, who included Michael Hickey, Thomas Bundy, Johnpaul Adizuo, and Michael Florin. The men discussed life in the seminary, their favorite saints, summer assignments, how parishes can promote vocations, and more.

Mackenzie Ritchie, CEO of the Catholic Community Foundation of Northeast Indiana, capped off the night by sharing how the organization is helping donors meet the great needs of diocesan seminarians through the St. John Paul II Endowment Fund – one of 282 funds the foundation holds for parishes, schools, apostolates, and other ministries within the diocese. Through its donors, the St. John Paul II Endowment Fund provides $50,000 annually to support the education of diocesan seminarians.

To learn more about the foundation and how to permanently support Stanley Amuchaka and each of the diocese’s 16 seminarians, visit

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