My vocation story started around the age of 8. Since I was a little kid, I always wanted to attend church. My family was the type that never went to church. Every time we passed Our Lady of Assumption Church I always wanted to go inside the temple. My family just said “One day we will take you”. I waited for that day to come but it never did. I entered Kindergarten when my teacher (Elisa Salas) asked the class if any ones mom could help her out with making a type of bags for the class. I raised my hand and said, “My mom can!” She replied “I’ll go to your house this afternoon.” She arrived at my house and the first thing she asked was, “Is he baptized?” My mom answered “No.” She was puzzled by it and quickly took us to Our Lady of Assumption to enroll into CCD.
As the classes started, I always looked forward to going every Saturday to see what I was going to learn. I always participated in class and studied my prayers. I went to mass on Sundays and noticed that our Parish priest at the time (Fr. Miguel Luna) was always so helpful to others, had a good sense of humor, and was always looking out for his parishioners. Each Sunday Fr. Luna kept doing acts of humbleness. I soon said to myself, “I want to be like him”. As time passed I still had that idea in me.
I started getting involved in my Church a lot more. I became an Altar Server at the age of 10, joined the choir at the age of 14, and became a Catechist at the age of 15. I helped around my church by either cleaning, serving in retreats, and with the youth group at the age of 13. My ministries made me realize how much I enjoyed helping out at my church. By helping around my parish, it made my vocation toward the priesthood grow even more. But then I experienced a moment of not wanting anything related to God.
It happened to me during Lent. I had entered high school and being the Jesus freak was not the cool thing. Some people made fun at me for wanting to be a priest and so did some teachers. I yelled at God, “Why are you letting this happen? Aren’t you suppose to protect me?! Make them stop!” Months passed and nothing had changed. That lead to where I did not want anything to do with church or helping out others. For all the forty days of Lent, I stopped going to church. I was forced to go on Easter Vigil night since my mom was going to receive her First Communion and was going to be confirmed. As the celebration went on, I began to cry when I heard how much Jesus had suffered for us and how he still forgave all the people who caused him that pain. It made me realize that I could forgive the people who made fun of me because Jesus was able to forgive everyone that did all that harm to him. I cried the whole celebration and realized how empty my life was without God. After the Vigil, I started helping out again and serving in my ministries. As time passed, a lot of parishioners started asking me if I wanted to be a priest. Without even thinking about it I always answered yes. As the time passed, my vocation kept growing and growing. I then decided to approach Fr. John Telles and tell him how I felt. As we talked, he made me realize that I truly saw myself as a priest in the future. So I waited to finish high school to join the seminary. Thanks to God, I am here now!
I want to give my gratitude to all the people who inspired me to help more around my church and guided toward my discernment of the priesthood. The people are Fr. John Telles, Fr. Miguel Luna, Sandra Sanchez, Nancy Sosa, and Daniel Hernandez.