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A Director as a Disciple of Life, Justice, and Peace

Father Angelbert Chikere hails from Nigeria and is the youngest of six brothers. He joined the Diocese of San José in 2015 while studying in Berkeley for his bachelor’s degree in sacred theology and master’s degree in divinity. In addition to being the director of the diocesan Office of Life, Justice, and Peace, he assists pastorally at Saint Leo the Great parish, where he lives, and at Saint Martin of Tours parish. He is the temporary chaplain of the local Catholic Cantonese community and a contributing writer to The Valley Catholic.


How long have you directed the Office of Life, Justice and Peace, and why did you go out for the position?

I have been a director at the chancery, the diocese's central administrative office, since July 2022. A few of my brother priests nudged me to apply for the role and I considered it up my alley, so to speak, in terms of my passions, specifically in understanding human dignity as the key to Church teaching on migration. Bishop Cantú graciously appointed me to the position following my application

How have you been spiritually impacted by your leadership position? In what way has this position impacted your overall ministry as a priest?

My desire to follow God as the prophet Micah instructs us, “ do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8), has grown albeit in a blemished manner. This position allows me to walk pastorally with the most vulnerable and collaborate with others dedicated to serving those at the margins of society.

What do you want others to know about the services your office provides?

The Office of Life, Justice, and Peace seeks to journey with people in several ways, through all stages of life, with all its difficulties — from the womb to the tomb — until we reach eternal life. Our office is also dedicated to keeping our common terrestrial home, the earth, ‘green’ and healthy.

When have you been the most inspired and the most challenged in your ministry?

Every time our ministry gives practical aid to even a single individual, I am inspired. We see and touch the humanity in them, and I am humbled that they choose to share their story and invite us to walk with them. I am most challenged when we fail to root our actions in Christ as our foundation. When that is missing, we risk giving ourselves the credit.

Why is this ministry important to you personally? Why should it be important to all Catholics?

I strongly believe we must constantly renew our understanding of the tenets of Christianity and apply those to positively impact our society—a practical solidarity if you will. All Catholics are called to avail themselves of the opportunity to glorify God through service. This is what the dismissal, "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life," at the end of holy Mass means.

What can a Catholic seeking to become more involved in service do?

Catholics in the Diocese of San José should consider calling their parishes to ask about ministries needing volunteers. These include the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the Catholic Relief Services’ Operation Rice Bowl and Stewards of Our Common Home. Locally, there are mental health, restorative justice, and other social ministries. Catholics simply need to reach out. Be bold! Our world needs you!