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Seminarian ready for next step towards priesthood

Jude Okeke

BOCA RATON  |  All are invited to the 11 a.m. Saturday, April 13, diaconate ordination Mass for Diocese of Palm Beach seminarian Jude Okeke at St. Joan of Arc Church, 370 S.W. Third St. in Boca Raton. 

At the liturgy, Okeke will be ordained a transitional deacon with seven other students from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary as they move toward priestly ordination next year.

Presiding at the ordination will be Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito. The additional men being ordained are from the Archdiocese of Miami and the dioceses of St. Augustine, Orlando, Pensacola-Tallahassee and Venice.  

Okeke, a native of Umualumaku, Ehime Mbano, Imo State, Nigeria, is the fourth among six children (with two sisters and three brothers). His faith journey began at age 8 when he decided to live with his grandmother in her village because she needed someone to care for her. She was pious, religious and loved priests and seminarians, he said.  

Influenced by his grandmother, Okeke began as an altar server at age 9, then enrolled in the seminary at 10 years old. He studied six years in the minor seminary until 2011 and received an award for excellence from the rector and vocations director. Okeke was assigned to serve under the diocesan financial administrator, then was promoted to Spiritual Year Seminary in preparation for the senior Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu, Nigeria.

Okeke studied four years at the senior seminary and received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome in affiliation with the Bigard seminary. He also earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and was sent for pastoral service for one year at the diocesan press and newspaper before proceeding to theological studies in October 2019.

“My stay with my grandma at a very tender age really helped in forming my conscience and shaping my life,” said Okeke, who was accepted in June 2021 as a seminarian for the Diocese of Palm Beach. “She was the very first seminary I encountered before entering the seminary proper.”

The diaconate ordination Mass will be livestreamed at To learn more about vocations in the Diocese of Palm Beach, visit, or follow the Office of Vocations and Seminarians on Facebook and Instagram.

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