Fr. Gonzalez now serves as Associate Director of Vocations for the diocese, working alongside director, Sister Sarah Shrewsbury, in promoting vocations to the priesthood, religious life and lay ministry. Fr. Garcia is now the Vice Rector of Blessed Junipero Serra House of Formation, ministering with Rector, Father Jose Sanz, to mentor and form men who have begun their studies to enter the priesthood.
“I’ve been where they are,” said Fr. Garcia. “I want to give them a good example of what the priesthood is all about.”
Even before he was a seminarian, Fr. Gonzalez did his best to raise awareness of vocations. He is quick to note that a person’s vocation does not solely equate to joining the priesthood or religious life.
“The most basic form of vocation that we are called to is to live life as children of God,” Fr. Gonzalez said. “It’s in this vocation that we encounter happiness and self-fulfillment.”
Fr. Garcia says his ministry is to be a constant presence with the seminarians at Serra House, praying with them, counseling them, teaching them, eating with them and even playing sports with them. He will teach the Human Formation class for new seminarians.
“I’m going to share with them my seminary experience and hopefully they will be able to relate to me,” he said. “It has to do with being present to the guys, accompanying them and walking with them.”
After his ordination to the priesthood, Fr. Gonzalez has continued to work with youth, often times with those who were troubled or forgotten. In whichever situation he found, he worked to bring awareness to the person’s vocation.
Now a part of the Vocation Office team, he plans to continue his work to build a vocational culture in the diocese. Prior to their new ministries both Fr. Gonzalez and Fr. Garcia worked as hospital chaplains while also serving as supply priests at parishes in the San Bernardino Vicariate.
One way of developing the culture of vocation is to ensure the people who work to promote vocations in their communities are spiritually fed. Fr. Gonzalez, through the Vocations Office, will be holding regular spiritual days for volunteers in English and in Spanish.
“The emphasis is to have a one-on-one with Jesus and have a close look into the inner self,” Father Gonzalez said.