It doesn’t seem like that long ago that Jesuit seminarian Alejandro Baez arrived here. He spent his school year last year with us assisting at Sunday Masses, helping with our Youth Ministry program, speaking at various group events and in other ways. That first year with us was a year of formation and evaluation for Alejandro in collaboration with the Jesuits of the Western Province. I had the opportunity to meet with his formation leader at the end of that year to review his contributions to St. Raymond and provide him with some feedback on his ministry in our parish.
Some time after our meeting Alejandro was able to share the good news that his superiors had voted to advance him to be ordained a Deacon. Alejandro had been in formation for a longer than usual period having been a member of two religious orders, and was ecstatic at this news. Since being ordained Dn. Alejandro has continued his ministry with us, primarily serving as a deacon at our Sunday Masses, preaching God’s Word and assisting as a Master of Ceremonies at some of our important liturgies.
As I write this, Dn. Alejandro is to be ordained to the priesthood on Saturday June 9th. I am looking forward to joining him along with quite a few others of St. Raymond parish at this joyful celebration in San Diego, CA. Fr. Alejandro will celebrate his first Masses this weekend and will join us next weekend to celebrate several Masses of Thanksgiving here at St. Raymond. We are planning on receptions for Fr. Alejandro in Moran Hall after the 5:00 pm, 10:30 am, 1:30 pm and 6:00 pm Masses. Everyone is invited. Come and celebrate his ordination to the priesthood!
The call to the priesthood and to life as a religious order brother, sister or priest is a very special one. These vocations don’t grow on trees, however. They come out of families just like yours and the one I come from. I want to encourage all our readers to support the possibility that God may be calling a daughter, son or relative to this possibility. For we who are genuinely called to it, it is a happy and purpose-filled life. Encourage your young family members to pray about God’s will for their life. With time and openness to God’s will, He will show them what it is.
In today’s gospel Jesus’ mother and family members come asking for him. It says in the passage just before today’s gospel that they were concerned that Jesus “had gone out of his mind.” It’s not surprising that those who had known Jesus throughout their lives were shocked at the transformation of Jesus after he had been baptized by John. What was Jesus’ reaction to their inquiry? Jesus casually looked around at his disciples and replied that those who do the will of God are his mother, his brothers and his sisters.
Those that do the will of God are Jesus’ mother and brothers and sisters. So again, encourage the young people in your family to pray about God’s will for their lives. Whatever it is: marriage, priesthood, a religious vocation or a vocation to the single life – if it comes from God – then it is what will make them most happy and fulfilled. And isn’t that what you would want most?
Beginning next week I will be taking two weeks of vacation time. I will be visiting some friends and doing one of the things I most enjoy in life: camping. I find the simplicity of camping and backpacking to be extremely relaxing. Sleeping outdoors, cooking outdoors and spending the day walking, hiking and picture-taking outdoors with good friends is very good for my soul.
You will all be in my thoughts and prayers during these vacation days. May God bless you all.