John Tanyi

John Tanyi
City
Tiko
State
Cameroon
Country
Cameroon
High School
St. Joseph’s College Sasse, Buea - Cameroon
College
Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi – Uganda

Hekima University College, Nairobi – Kenya

Boston College – USA
Class Year
First Theology

What are some of the factors that led to your decision to enter the seminary and discern the question of a vocation to the priesthood?

At the age of seven, I told my mother that I wanted to become a priest. I must have said so from my infant admiration of priests walking around in their white cassocks. Since my father was a headmaster in Catholic schools for over four decades, my family resided within mission premises and I saw priests and missionaries serving people selflessly and I wanted to do the same. For a while now, I thought I was going to serve God and the Church through my writings on the faith and diplomacy of the Church. However, God sometimes works in mysterious ways. Some experiences I got from my role as a chaplain at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, Boston and sacristan at St. Anne’s parish in Salem, MA also played a role in my decision to enter the seminary and discern the question of a vocation to the priesthood. When Fr. Anthony Murphy, my former parish priest heard I was going to the seminary he wrote, inter alia, “You (John) have been circling around your vocation for a long time. You remind me of Francis Thompson's famous poem, ‘The Hound of Heaven’. Jesus is the ‘hound’: patiently following his chosen one till the latter finally surrenders”.

Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?

Pope St. John Paul II definitely influenced my decision to enter the seminary because he was a priest par excellence. The way he carried out his priestly and Petrine ministries made an impact on me. He bore true witness to the Gospel and was a “Witness to Hope” in the words of papal biographer, George Weigel. Fr. Anthony Murphy MHM spent more than four decades as a missionary in Africa. His dedication to his priestly ministry was exceptional. He cared for his parishioners and he was an “Apostle of Charity” who selflessly shared the little he had with parishioners. He was a humble man who always made time for his people. Fr. Maurice Agbaw-Ebai, Administrator of St. Anne’s Parish in Salem and a professor of theology at Boston College has been a role model for me. His love for the Eucharist and commitment to help people know and develop a relationship with God has been an inspiration to me. My family was my first seminary and my parents are my premier formators. I grew up in a traditional Catholic family where daily Mass attendance was a given. My mother woke us up at 5am every day for morning devotion before going to Mass. The formation I received from my family definitely sowed the seeds for my decision to enter the seminary now.

What would you say is the role of prayer in the life of a seminarian and what effect does it have on one's ability to see God's call?

There is a popular song that: ‘Prayer is the key, prayer is the key, prayer is the master key”. Seminary formation and the priesthood would be meaningless to a seminarian who does not pray. Prayers especially time before the Blessed Sacrament gives a seminarian the opportunity to converse with God regularly and be able to discern God’s will for his life in a clearer way.

What advice would you give to a man who thinking about his vocation and is considering that God may be calling him to be a priest?

St. John Paul II often said “Do not be afraid”. Any person thinking about a vocation to the priesthood should not be afraid to launch out into the deep. It is a wonderful opportunity to serve God and his Church as a priest. A person thinking of a call to the priesthood should pray, attend vocation retreats, talk to priests and seminarians, and should not hesitate to discern his vocation in the seminary if given the opportunity.

What do you like most about being a seminarian?

The holistic formation in the seminary is absolutely priceless. The four pillars of the seminary life are spiritual, human, intellectual, and pastoral formation. Being in the seminary offers one the opportunity to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament at any point in the day or night. It is also great to share a community with people from diverse backgrounds and walks of life.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing a man who is considering the seminary?

Extreme secularism, relativism, and the materialistic culture are big challenges facing a man considering a call to the priesthood today.

What are some of your hobbies or pastimes? What are some of the things you like to do in your "free" time?

I play and watch soccer. I enjoy watching my favorite team Arsenal FC. For a long time, Arsenal was the best football playing club in England especially under professor Arsene Wenger. I also spend time reading factual books and chatting with friends.

What do you think is the best way to encourage vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston?

The vocation office should reach out to schools especially catholic schools. Vocation camps and programs should be organized by the archdiocese of Boston.

Back to Meet Our Seminarians

 

John Tanyi
City
Tiko
State
Cameroon
Country
Cameroon
High School
St. Joseph’s College Sasse, Buea - Cameroon
College
Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi – Uganda

Hekima University College, Nairobi – Kenya

Boston College – USA
Class Year
First Theology