January 7 – Epiphany of the Lord

My name is Christopher Otieno, my friends call me ‘Topher’, and so you can call me Topher too. I was born in Busia County, Western part of Kenya. I am the third-born in family of four. Our parents, Rasmos and Lilian, brought us up in a God-fearing way in the Catholic faith. My hobbies include: playing soccer, traveling, listening to music, movie watching, reading, gardening, taking nature walks, running, bicycling, eating out (I like beef), volunteer work and socializing.

I completed my elementary school in 2005 and joined St. Peter’s Minor Seminary for my High School education, where I graduated in 2009. While in Elementary School I felt the urge to become a priest. I became a Mass Server in our parish, Mary Immaculate, Kisoko in the Diocese of Bungoma, Kenya. Getting a chance to study in the minor seminary under the tutelage of priests, the urge to become a priest grew even stronger. I joined the Consolata Missionaries in 2011 since I felt the call to serve God as a Missionary Priest. I did my B.A in Philosophy at Consolata Institute of Philosophy, Nairobi – Kenya, and graduated with a Summa Cum Laude (First Class Honours) in 2015. Thereafter, I joined Tangaza University in Nairobi, Kenya, where I studied B.A in Theology and graduated in 2020 with a Magna Cum Laude – Second Class Upper-Division Honours.

In July 2020, I discerned out of formation with Consolata Missionaries but continued with my vocational discernment. Providentially, I met Fr. Clive, a Kenyan Priest working in the Diocese of Joliet, who introduced me to the Director of Vocations, Fr. Steven Borello. I have been in touch with Fr. Steven since February 2021.

While I was discerning to join the Diocese of Joliet, I took up two jobs. I worked as a Debt Collection Agent between January 2021 and October 2022 for Prestopap Technologies Company Limited. Then between October 2022 and December 2023 I worked for Call Center International (CCI) – Kenya, which is a company that offers outsourcing Customer Service, I was privileged to work as a Customer Service Representative for Shutterfly, Inc. I had a chance to offer service to a number of American customers.

I was accepted as a seminarian of the Diocese of Joliet in June 2023 and here we are! I thank God for this blessed opportunity and I believe it is His Providence that we are going to meet. I look forward to having a great experience with the parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Aurora, IL, USA.

AMDG (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam – For the greater glory of God)

Chris Otieno