Testimony of Conversion Behind Nigerian Catholic Priest’s Book Promoting The Rosary

Fr. Justine Dyikuk at the June 1 launch of his book 'Me and my Rosary' in Glasgow, Scotland. Credit: Fr. Justine Dyikuk

Five years ago, Fr. Justine John Dyikuk promised himself to always pray the 20 decades of the Holy Rosary every day for the rest of his life. This was after experiencing what the Nigerian Catholic Priest describes as a divine encounter that changed his life for good. 

While serving as Parish Priest of St. Mary's Jimpi Parish of the Catholic Diocese of Bauchi in Northeastern Nigeria, Fr. Dyikuk faced opposition and threats from a member of the pastoral team of the Parish, and witnessed the man’s conversion. 

Parishioners at St. Mary's Jimpi Parish had accused the man of engaging in witchcraft and immoral activities. Fr. Dyikuk’s counsel, appealing to the man to abandon his ways, was only met with what the Priest described as “resistance and vendetta”, a situation that quickly escalated into threats.

When Fr. Dyikuk could no longer endure the threats, he started having special Eucharistic celebrations for the man’s conversion, accompanied by 20 decades of the Holy Rosary and novena prayers. 

“Three days into the novena, I heard a knock on the door. Guess who was at the rectory? The same man and his wife,” the member of Clergy of Bauchi Diocese told ACI Africa.


He added, “As soon as I opened the door, they prostrated on the floor. While I was busy urging them to get up, he said to me without looking up, ‘Father, I am deeply sorry for what I did to you. We could not sleep in our house yesterday. We saw a bright light and a voice told me that if I did not come to apologize to you, I would die.’” 

“I assumed he had a divine visitation,” Fr. Dyikuk who is based in the UK said during the Monday, June 24 interview with ACI Africa. 

“It was from that day that I took the decision that I would say 20 decades of the Rosary every day for the rest of my life. And it is now five years and I have not defaulted,” he said. 

“I am not in any way insinuating that I am holy; of course, we all aspire to be holy. Nonetheless, I can assure you that since then, a lot has changed in my life. I thank God for this experience. Without it, I may have been way out in the woods, spiritually,” he shared. 

It is this experience that inspired Fr. Dyikuk to promote the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The first thing he did was to construct a grotto at the Parish, which he dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He also animatedly encouraged the daily Rosary prayers among different groups of the Parish. 

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Two years ago, the doctoral student in Journalism, Media and Communication at the University of Strathclyde Glasgow in the UK started writing the book, “Me and My Rosary: Theological Insights, Moving Testimonies”.

The book provides his personal testimonies about the power of the Holy Rosary, and details how, with the prayers of the Holy Rosary, his family members reconciled with one another after engaging in a big fight.

The book also features testimonies of victims of Islamist attacks, who said they escaped death by praying the Holy Rosary. 

Also in the book is the testimony of Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri, which used to be the epicentre of Boko Haram attacks. Bishop Doeme is a renowned visionary who, in his encounter with Jesus Christ, is said to have been given a message that Boko Haram would be dislodged through praying the Holy Rosary. 

In his interview with ACI Africa following the launch of his book in Glasgow, Scotland, early this month, Fr. Dyikuk, whose research focuses on outsmarting Boko Haram, said that the book seeks to introduce fresh perspectives about the Holy Rosary.


“My hope is that readers can get fresh perspectives in praying the Rosary so that it is not just a mechanical exercise for them,” he said.

He posed, “Are we able to identify something joyful in our lives when we meditate on the joyful mysteries? And are we able to share the same joy with our brothers and sisters? When tragedy strikes, how does it impact our faith? Do we help others unite their pain with that of Jesus when we meditate on the sorrowful mysteries?”

“How do we respond to the invitation to be disciples of Jesus when we pray the Glorious mysteries? And when we meditate on the Luminous mysteries, do we reflect on the day of our baptism and our call to be missionaries?” the Nigerian Catholic Priest further posed.

Sharing about his conversion when he started praying 20 decades of the Holy Rosary daily, Fr. Dyikuk, who survived the Boko Haram attack in 2011 said, “ I prayed the Rosary daily but I wasn't as conscious of it as I am now. I have seen numerous fruits in my life from the time I started setting aside one hour every day to pray the Rosary.”

“Praying the Rosary slows down one’s will in committing sin. The Rosary connects you to the mysteries of Christs and through it, Our Lady reminds us to do the will of her son,” he said.

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Fr. Dyikuk’s nine-chapter book provides the history of the Holy Rosary, reflecting on what the Holy Fathers have said about devotion to the prayer. The book encourages observing the May and October months set aside for devotion to the Holy Rosary and revisits the apparition of Fatima to assure world peace through Mary’s intercession. 

The book also provides a relationship between the Rosary Prayer and Holy Mass. In chapters three, four, five and six, the Nigerian Catholic Priest reflects on the different mysteries of the Holy Rosary, arguing that each decade of the Holy Rosary must be connected to one’s daily experiences and the experiences of those around them. 

Chapter seven is where he provides his testimonies about the power of the Holy Rosary. In chapter eight, he provides testimonies of others who have had divine encounters from praying the Holy Rosary. 

In chapter nine, Fr. Dyikuk provides recommendations to boost Marian devotion especially through Praying the Holy Rosary. He recommends, among other sets of proposals, that Catholic communities promote online rosaries “to sanitize the social media spaces that are full of negative content.”

The book “aspires to contribute to the already established Mariology or Marian Theology”, the author has told ACI Africa.

In chapter two titled, “The Rosary and Holy Mass: In search for drama, prose, and poetry,” the Catholic Priest deploys the three genres of literature – drama, prose, and poetry to explain that the Holy Mass is “drama” while the Rosary is “poetry of the Mass”.

Drama because “Jesus, who is the victim, the priest and lamb of sacrifice offers Himself as a living sacrifice,” he says in the book, and further explains, “We, unworthy active participants in the liturgy become beneficiaries.”  

Fr. Dyikuk argues that the Holy Rosary is “poetry” of the Holy Mass because “it x-rays the joyful, sorrowful, glorious and luminous mysteries of Christ which invites Christians to connect their daily experiences with these mysteries for profound spiritual benefits.”

In a note shared with ACI Africa on Monday, June 24, Fr. Dyikuk’s book committee chair, Helen Border, indicated that the events of the June 1 book launch were organized to promote praying the Holy Rosary “which is dear to Fr. Dyikuk’s heart," to mark his 15th Priestly anniversary, and to raise funds to support the Nigerian Catholic Priest’s final year Ph.D. tuition “since he is a self-funded student.”  

In the June 24 interview, Fr. Dyikuk told ACI Africa that the book would “soon be on Amazon”, adding that hundreds of copies have already been purchased in the UK.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.