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TWO SAINTS, TWO PRIESTS, AND THE PAPA VOCATION


Some years ago, I was questioning Father Michael about my PAPA vocation, and in his unique manner he affirmed “this is your vocation!”


To which I pondered, what does he know? How does he know?


So, this is the funny story of this PAPA vocation. This goes back over a decade and a half ago.


In the early to mid-2000’s, we were not yet recovered from the 2001 scandal of the Church. Many more lawsuits were coming down the pipeline in California. Especially since they had nullified the statue of limitations for these lawsuits. More and more priests and dioceses were being sued and more scandals uncovered.


At that time, my spiritual director was Fr. Juan Velez, and Opus Dei priest, and eventually a PAPA priest as well. Under his suggestion, we started a website and a Facebook page called “The True Face of the Priesthood”.


Our mission was: “We are a group of faithful Roman Catholics looking to shed some fair light in the issue of priestly abuse so publicized by the media. Our goal is to tell the truth on issues that hurt many Catholics and non-Catholics around the word.”


The site and page ran for a few years. It received mostly positive feedback and mostly attracted converts, or people looking for conversion into the Catholic faith.


Considering that Fr. Juan is also a Newman scholar seemed like the logical thing to happen. He also encouraged me to read the books of St. Francis of Sales and Pope Benedict. Had a couple of book clubs in San Diego and online discussing the works of these saints.


Today we celebrate St. John Henry Newman’s birthday. His episcopal motto, “Cor Ad Cor Loquitur” – “Heart speaks to heart”, can be traced back to a 17th century letter from St. Francis of Sales. So, these two saints influenced that search, understanding, and love for the True Priesthood of Jesus.


Somewhere in between, our family moved to Texas, and Father Juan to Princeton, where he was involved in an accident that broke his left arm and collarbone. Around that time Fr. Michael came to Richmond, TX and became our pastor.


While Father Juan was recovering from his surgery, instead of resting, he wrote a book on St. John Henry and got involved more in St. John Henry’s canonization process. Not long after, Father Michael was reassigned, and wrote the PAPA Handbook. And invited us to become part of PAPA.


So, in one way or another, Jesus has wanted that I pray for the priesthood, and invite others to do the same.


So yes, this is my vocation.


God bless y'all!

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