Six years ago, I had no idea if I would become a priest, or decide to enter the workforce. I did know that God would accompany me in this journey, and in these past six years, he has guided me here. I stand now on the edge of entering ministry full time as a priest, and I could not be more excited. By the time you read this, God-willing, I will be preparing to be ordained a deacon, with an eye on being ordained a priest this coming May. I’ve been in school full time now since 1997… enough education to have earned an MD or a Ph.D. It attests to how prepared a priest has to be. He has to respond to a myriad of possible crises in people’s lives, provide them comfort, and resolution that will get them moving forward. Some days, he is incredibly successful; other days, not so much. In all of them, he has to rely on the grace of God, who chose him to bring His grace into the world. St. John Paul II reminded generations not to be afraid. This rings true today more so than ever. Thousands of my peers, disenchanted with the Church, leave religion behind as a fossil of history. Every day, thousands decry the Church as antiquated and declare that the Gospel has no place in modern society. Such is the reality I am entering into ministry. There is no more challenging time than the present to be a priest, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. As I move toward ordination, I get more and more excited that God is asking me to bring his sacraments, his presence into our lives. He desires me to be his instrument to sanctify the world; to preach, to teach, to baptize. So then, what is the next step on my journey? God-willing, I will be ordained a deacon on November 16, with an eye toward ordination as a priest in May of next year. In that time, I will be preaching, baptizing, serving the mass in a new capacity and teaching the Gospel. Right now, I am assigned to St. Matthew Catholic Church on Wurzbach; please pray for the people I serve there and for me. Pray for my ordination, and for my brothers being ordained, that we may serve the people well. Finally, pray for more vocations. The priesthood cannot be sustained without your prayer for and activism for vocations. Foster vocations in your families: Encourage single young men to consider the priesthood, just as you encouraged me. To you young men at St. Mark who are considering the priesthood, there is nothing better than following after God’s desire for your life. He will reward you a hundred times over for your generosity every day. God bless you abundantly for your support and thank you for your love of me and for my brothers every day. My ordination to Transitional Deacon will take place Saturday, November 16, 2019 at St. Anthony Mary Claret Church at 6150 Roft Rd. in San Antonio. Mass will be at 10:00. I join my fellow Seminarians Matthew Robert DeLeon, Ricardo Ramirez Alvarez and Blayne Charles Joseph Riley in thanksgiving for this celebration. I will celebrate my first Mass as a Deacon the same day at St. Mark the Evangelist at the 5:00 PM Mass. I invite my entire St. Mark community to join me in celebration at a reception to follow Mass in the Community Center Shalom Room. Deo Gratias!