Pastor, St. Catherine of Alexandria, Temecula
Q. Why did you become a priest?
I remember when I was six or seven years old, on Fridays and Saturdays I would walk with my grandmother to church for adoration. As a young kid, I felt something special in adoration. In my family we would meet for nightly prayer and pray for the special needs of the family and extended family.
I felt that I was doing something for those in need by praying. That is something we are missing now, family prayer. I believe love is a series of good memories and activities. When we work together that is creating a way for love. Praying as a family and going to adoration that was the beginning of my vocation.
Q. What do you like to do for fun?
When I was younger, I enjoyed playing basketball. Now I like to read, listen to music and go for walks. In reading, it is not all theology. My background is in education, so I like to read about culture, family life and family issues. After 32 years of the priesthood, I think pastoral care is more than just the bible and canon law, but also living out the faith. The more I know about the problems facing families, the better I can be able to minister to their needs.
Q. If you could be the patron saint of something, what would you be the patron saint of?
This is a little difficult, but I suppose I would put it this way. I want to be the patron saint of human bridges. I just want to be a simple person that can live with anyone. I don’t want to focus on just the Vietnamese community, or the English community, or the Spanish community. I wish to be a brother with anyone and everyone.
Q. What is an important issue facing the Church of San Bernardino?
In this diocese we grow too fast. We have a lot of people coming from different areas and with them; they bring gifts (culture, traditions, etc.). The challenge we face is that for some, it is hard to accept something new. Both our bishops have embraced this challenge and have begun addressing this with the Building Intercultural Competency for Ministers (BICM) program. Maybe we don’t see the results of this program today, but I believe years from now we will be able to see the impact this and other programs are having on our communities. This is a big challenge. We need to ask ourselves, am I ready to accept newcomers? Am I willing to see the good in people? How can I accept different ideas? We need more human bridges.