When Father Willy Kingsley Ndi, 31, was a child in Cameroon, Africa, he fell in love with sacred things.
He grew up in a large Christian family with a Catholic mother and a Baptist father. The family prayed together every morning.
When he was 12 years old, his mother died. This devastated the youngster, but he clung to the Church. He actively participated in church groups and served at the altar of his home parish, All Saints in Bayelle in the Archdiocese of Bamenda. He loved the liturgy.
“I fell in love with the priesthood at a very young age,” Father Ndi said.
At the cusp of manhood, the 16-year-old set out to truly discern God’s intention for him.
When he was eligible, he applied to be part of a religious congregation and studied at the Catholic University of Central Africa. However, this path would close before him.
Undeterred he knew he had to follow God. His search for his place in God’s plan led him to America and to Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
“Even before meeting him, he was a father to me,” Father Ndi said of the Bishop of Brooklyn.
Father Ndi said he feels at peace in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens. Although he misses his family back home, he does not mourn their absence. He said he has found his place in the Diocese of Immigrants. The people and priests have made him feel at home.
After offering half his life in the pursuit of joining the ranks of God’s priests, Father Ndi is now ready to offer the rest of his life for the good of God’s people.
“I understand my call as a call for service: giving my life, giving my self for people – to be a bridge for the people,” he said.
Aside from English, Father Ndi speaks French, Spanish, German and Italian. He considers research to be one of his hobbies and has a special devotion to St. Maximilian Kolbe.
On his ordination day, he will be vested by Msgr. Joseph Nugent and Father Luis Saldaña.
Father Ndi will celebrate his First Mass of thanksgiving at Our Lady of Victory Church, a worship site of St. Martin de Porres parish, Bedford-Stuyvesant, on Sunday, June 4 at 2 p.m.