“Martin, embrace this parish assignment that you have received for your internship, for it is the people, and the pastor, of this parish that will teach you what it means to be a priest of Jesus Christ.” These were the words that were said to me by a very wise spiritual director at the seminary before I arrived here in Casa Grande for my internship semester. Just about every summer of a seminarian’s journey he is sent to a parish to be more fully immersed in the lifestyle which he will take upon on the day of his ordination.
Every parish has its own personality and with this unique personality comes a unique lesson for the seminarian to take with him on his journey towards becoming a priest. This assignment, however, has been unlike the rest of my summer assignments. Some of it has to do with the fact that I was here for a substantial amount of time. I believe, however, that what made my internship here with all of you different from my other parish assignments, was the fact that God, knowing how close I am to being ordained, deigned all of you as a community trustworthy and reliable to truly sculpt a man in his final steps towards the priesthood. I know what kind of priest I want to be because of the impact you all have had on me and on my discernment. With a most humbled heart I thank you all for participating and journeying with me on my road towards becoming a priest of Jesus Christ.
In a very special way I would like to thank Fr. Ariel as the pastor of this parish. I want to thank Fr. Ariel first of all for allowing me the privilege to live my internship here with this wonderful community. I want to thank him for the valuable lessons that he has taught me throughout my time here, and those that he will continue to teach me as brother priests. I am humbled and grateful for the fatherly love and support that he has extended to me. It is pastors like you, Fr. Ariel, that inspire us seminarians to continue towards our goal despite the obstacles.
I also thank Fr. George for his guidance and wonderful witness of 40 years of joyful priesthood. And of course, how could I forget Fr. Leo. Thank you all for being great role-models.
To the staff and volunteers whom I worked with closely day in and day out, in a special way; Deacon Steve, Maureen, Patrick, Jenny, & Diana, you are all amazing witnesses of what it means to be a disciple of Christ, especially since most of you wear many hats in the office yet remain joyful and willing to serve Christ and His people. To the many ministries of this zealous parish, I also want to thank you for your witness as disciples willing to volunteer your time in order to make this parish, and this community, more Christ-like. Thank you for your constant words of encouragement and for your prayers and for all your support.
To conclude I would like to ask that this community to continue to encourage a culture of holy vocations, especially to the priesthood and religious life. Young men and women out there: please do not be afraid to follow Christ. If you give Him your all, He will give you more than you could ever possibly imagine. I am praying for each and every single one of you.
Again, please keep me in your prayers, as I promise to keep all of you in mine & please keep in touch. I will leave my contact information at the parish office if you wish to contact me. Thank you all again for forming part of my journey and know that I carry all of you with me in a very special way.
Gratefully yours, Martin Moreno