Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Chino
Q. Why did you become a priest?
Looking back I can see a line leading me to the priesthood. I loved going to Mass. I knew the Mass by heart by the time I was six. But when I was asked if I wanted to be a priest at age 14, I said no.
People would talk about the priests and be critical of them. I didn’t want to know that people would be so critical. It took me eight years until I heard the call. When your girlfriends say you should be a priest, then you know (laughs). I didn’t know it then, but since the day I was born, my grandmother prayed every day for me and my cousin to become priests. I did and my cousin became a pastor. When you have your grandmother praying, you lose. Well, you don’t lose, God wins.
Q. What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy getting together with some people for a nice meal. I love the movies and like intimate gatherings with family and friends. When I have money I enjoy the opera and concerts. Whatever I do, it’s with family and friends.
Q. If you could be the patron saint of something, what would you be the patron saint of?
I think I would join St. Cecilia in being the patron saint of music, especially opera. I love jazz, all forms of jazz. I play the saxophone and clarinet and sing – mainly at Mass. Yeah, being the patron saint of music would be cool.
Q. What is an important issue facing the Church of San Bernardino?
It is at the heart and core of what Pope Francis is saying. We are adjusting from the old style of being church and moving out to the streets. I love that people are ready to go out. At St. James, we had three groups that went door to door. Fr. Vargas was going to start going door to door here in Chino. We need to find what Jesus referred to as the lost sheep of Israel. They need to be invited to the family of the Church. Yes we need bigger buildings, parking lots and air conditioning (emphasis on air conditioning), but more importantly we need to be the Church, we need to come together. My support goes to the movements of the Church, because they are living the faith. They come together as small faith communities. That’s how the disciples did it.