Q. Why did you become a priest?
I’m the seventh of 13 siblings. We lived in a Colorado farming community with neighboring farmers from diverse ethnicities. In this multilingual, multi-cultural environment of families, we grew up and developed and experienced different cultural customs, food, linguistic expressions, and parish festivals.
The priests and consecrated religious also came from the same type of ethnic mix in togetherness shared vocational, liturgical, paraliturgical, catechetical and sacramental life with us.
It is in this setting that I was meditating about a priestly vocation in the earliest of my youthful years. The big personal question was priestly vocation as a ‘religious’ who travels all over the world, or as one who works from a library to a classroom and then taking the weekends for going to the parishes, etc.
Now in my early adult years, while my semi-professional, single lifestyle in business and office administration, and social life kept me very busy and active, my spirit and soul, too, wanted a more fulfilling orientation. I got and continue to get [this fulfillment] as a diocesan priest here.
Q. What do you do for fun?
Well, you know, as we climb the “age ladder,” artistic and spiritual impulses change. I have and continue to use bicycles, play tennis, read books and books, trek hills and low mountains, go to family parties, listen to music, do string art, and spray paint twigs, leaves and stalks of produce and dry arrangements for in-house décor. Because it flows from the spirit in us, there is no “terminus” to creativity, which is spiritual in that it flows from goodness and joyfulness. The refrain from Cardinal [Oscar Andres Rodriguez] Maradiaga’s song underlines an apt conclusion to this question, “¡La alegria del Evangelio nos invita a la misión, y con el Papa Francisco misericordia y bendición!” “The joy of the Gospel invites us to mission with Pope Francis with blessings and mercy!”
Q. If you could be a patron saint of something, what would it be?
I would like to be the patron of the great virtues of reconciliation and forgiveness flowing from the mercy, justice and peace for the common good as willed by our heavenly Father. I would be among St. Andrew, St. Francis, St. Joseph and St. Mary, who lived the truths of JMJ and A.M.D.G.
In particular, I would like to be the patron saint of youth in the style of Dominic Savio (March 9). He is honored for relating to the virtues, virtuously throughout his life to age 25.
Q. What is an important issue facing the Church of San Bernardino?
The preferable term used by me in answering this question is not “issue,” but rather “God-given invitation” or “good and holy challenge.” Following the “show and tell” life of Jesus, all of us in the missionary discipleship of our Lord are to build the body of Christ. This is to be done through our vocation: clergy, consecrated religious, laity. The issue/invitation/challenge here is namely, for living, serving, sharing, and promoting the priesthood, consecrated religious and ecclesiastical ministries. This is needed for an ongoing celebration of the Good News values for everyone’s good.