Looking for “a good heart willing serve and love”
By ROSE YBARRAThe Valley Catholic
SAN JUAN — Priests come from all age groups and from all walks of life, from virtually every country on the planet and in all shapes, sizes and ethnicities. Some are outspoken and animated, while others are more reserved.
But all the good priests have one thing in common,
"They have a good heart that is willing to serve and love," and that's what we look for in a potential priest."
The Office of Vocations generates the priests for the diocese, the priests who serve the more than 900,000 Catholics in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Director of Vocations, however, is not strictly a headhunter, searching for men to become priests. He assists men in their preliminary and ongoing discernment of a vocation to the diocesan priesthood. He serves as an advisor and mentor and is committed to seeing men through the formation journey.
"They are not so much a recruitment office as they are a place that helps you discern if you have a priestly vocation," said Andy Gutierrez, a fifth-year seminarian for the diocese studying at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois. "Their main interest is to help you find what God is calling you to do with your life."
Father Davalos's work is not confined to the four walls of his office. He travels around the diocese, giving talks about vocations at Masses, at retreats, in religious education classes and many other places.
He also leads an organization called Future Priests of the Valley, a group of young men from the diocese who are discerning a call to priesthood. Most of the group is high school and college age. The organization meets regularly throughout the year.
Providing a realistic view of what the priesthood is all about is also one of the principal responsibilities of the Office of Vocations, not just for potential priests but for the community at large.
"There's a lack of understanding of what being a priest is really like," Gutierrez said. "The Office of Vocations makes people aware about the priestly vocation and explains what daily life is like for a priest."
Father Davalos also answers correspondence from seminarians and priests from outside of the diocese who are interested in serving here. He evaluates each man on a case-by-case basis to see if he is a good fit to serve the people of the Valley.
The most important action of the Office of Vocations, however, is prayer.
"We pray for vocations and ask others to pray," Father Davalos said. "Prayer is one of most effective tools that we and the community can use to increase vocations."
As a seminarian, Gutierrez said the prayers are appreciated.
"We thank the people for that and we ask that they please continue to pray for us," he said.
If you or a young man you know is discerning a call to priesthood, contact the Office of Vocations at (956) 784-5013.
Catholic Diocese of Brownsville1910 University Boulevard • Brownsville, Texas 78520 • (956) 542-2501 • (956) 542-6751 Fax 700 North Virgen de San Juan Blvd • San Juan, Texas 78589 • (956) 781-5323 • (956) 784-5081 Fax Contact Us Copyright © 2011 Diocese of Brownsville. All Rights Reserved.Site by Solutio