St. Bernardine Parish, San Bernardino
Q. Why did you become a priest?
As a young boy and altar server I was inspired by the priests of our parish and decided to enter the seminary at an early age. Of course, I went through my crises and doubts, but I continued to prepare for the priesthood, and also became interested in the religious life of the missionary priests and brothers, especially those who were working in South America.
I joined the Consolata Missionaries and not only was ordained, but also professed religious vows. I am happy that my vocation has led me to places like Argentina, Colombia, and now the San Bernardino Diocese, where I live my priesthood every day and feel very fulfilled in my vocation.
Q. What do you like to do for fun?
I like to find moments to be in the garden and care for the plants and be close to nature. For exercise I go regularly to water aerobics class or go walking. When I just want to relax I read books or magazines. Of course I always enjoy opportunities to go out with friends for a nice dinner. And our parishioners are always so kind as to invite me into their homes especially when there are parties for baptisms, birthdays, or other special occasions. These moments of relaxation are a complement to the many activities of parish life such as weddings, baptisms, funerals, and meetings with our different ministries. I enjoy the ministries too, but when things get too busy it is good to just take some time out for a bit of quiet rest, reflection and prayer.
Q. If you could be the patron saint of something, what would it be?
I would be proud to be the patron saint of immigrants. My grandparents immigrated from Italy to the U.S. in the latter part of the nineteenth and the early twentieth century, arriving at Ellis Island. I have worked with Paraguayan immigrants in Argentina, and with Central American immigrants in Texas. I have witnessed the difficulties of many immigrants in California and elsewhere. My heart goes out to those who are arriving, and some not making it, on the boat flotillas to Lampedusa to which Pope Francis has called special attention. Yes, I am not a saint at all, but I think that it would be a good thing if I could become Saint Father Lenny, Patron of the Immigrants.
Q. What is the important issue facing the Church of San Bernardino?
Well, there are so many issues that I wonder where to begin? But I think right now in our City of San Bernardino we should turn our attention to the question of violence. There are too many street killings. As Catholics I think we should do our part to reach out and collaborate with persons of other faith traditions, with our civic leaders, and with our law enforcement officers, to see what we can do to create a better climate of understanding and peace among the people of our urban centers. If we can make headway in this we will be bringing the peace and love of Christ where it is greatly needed into the heart of our civic community and of our Diocese of San Bernardino.