I want to share with you all something, and especially about my vocation. I was born in Lima – yes, I am from the land of St. Rose of Lima and St, Martin de Porres – although my father is from Callao and my mother is from Cuzco. After I was ordained deacon, on 12th October 2012, I spent my diaconate in the City of Boys, in Andahuaylillas (Cuzco).
First of all, how did my vocation to the priesthood begin? I can respond to this question with the same words that Pope John Paul II used in his book “Gift and Mystery”, when he wrote about his own vocation:… “God knows the most about my priestly vocation…” and “…every priestly vocation is a great mystery, it is a gift that infinitely conquers man…”. That is honestly how I feel: infinitely conquered by this beautiful gift that the Lord has given me with his call, as, as you know, the responsibility that a priest has today is very great; and I tremble like St. Paul (1Cor 2,3) when I think of that. However, the words of that very apostle of the gentiles help me to overcome my fears: “…I know whom I have believed” (2Tm 1,12).
So then, how did I get to know about the Movement of the Missionary Servants of the Poor? I found out about them through a good friend of my mother, and thanks to her, my mother used to help out at the Spiritual Retreats that Fr. Giovanni used to organise periodically in Lima. My mother used to always bring home leaflets and magazines in which I read the testimonies of young missionaries, and saw many photos of children who lived in poor conditions in the Andean Cordillera, as well as, of course, messages from Fr. Giovanni, telling the youths to be brave and decided in following Christ.
What is curious is that up until then, my life had been completely normal, I was even about to realise my dream: to be a sports journalist. However, I wasn’t content. Every time that I read one of those testimonies or I saw a photo of those children who lived in sub-human conditions in the tiny villages of the High Cordillera, or on the outskirts of Cuzco, my heart would not stop trembling. I felt the need to do something for them, I felt like there was a voice that was asking me to leave everything (my family, my friends, my profession, my comfort, my city, my personal projects, etc.).
In short, I felt the call of Christ in my heart – but it was very difficult for me to leave everything. It was incredibly hard to take that decisive step.
Finally, I remember that every day I prayed a short prayer to the Lord, that a priest from Lima had taught me: “Speak to me Lord: What do you want from me?”. I must admit that my parents helped me a lot in this period of discernment; I prayed the Holy Rosary with them every day, and also the chaplet of Divine Mercy. Without doubt, the Christian example and testimony that I received from my parents was instrumental in strengthening my vocation.
And so it was, driven by the Lord, I finally made that decisive step. I wrote to the Father Superior of the Community at Cuzco, telling them of my vocational journey, and my desire to serve Christ in the poor. He accepted me. And so I arrived at Cuzco and I began my missionary life. I can say, without any question, that that was a time in which I received many blessings and gifts from the Lord.
In the daily contact that I had with the children, I discovered, gradually, the suffering face of Christ, because many of them came (and come) from homes damaged by alcohol or by domestic violence, or they were simply children who had been abandoned by their own parents. Many times I have cried remembering testimonies of our children, and I give thanks to God for the privilege that He has given me, of being able to serve Him and console Him every day, in them, as a Servant of the Poor. And so, in this continual service towards the least of our brothers, I have been made able to understand the words of Our Lord who says: “Whatsoever you do to the least of your brothers, that you do unto me”
( Mt 25, 40).
I always have this intuition, that these children were an instrument for Christ to call me into His service, and to get me to leave everything for Him… Now, as I said at the start, I am working in the City of Boys, with the desire to serve Christ in the children, in the poorest, a desire that, thanks to God, remains intact, as at the start of my first missionary experience. I ask the Lord for the gift of remaining faithful to everything that I have learned and valued throughout these years of Seminary: prayer, love of the Eucharist, and community life. And to all those who are reading this, I ask that you support me with your prayers so that I may remain faithful to the vocation to which Christ has called me, and so that He may convert me only into an instrument of His love as a Servant among the poorest and the most needy. Holy Mary, Mother of the Poor, pray for us.