Gratitude to the Lord feeds the priestly call

By 
  • April 17, 2007
TORONTO - When Jorge Lopez joined Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Toronto nine years ago he didn’t speak a word of English. Still, he left his family behind in Nicaragua to follow his call to the priesthood.
“I accepted out of gratitude to the Lord,” said Lopez, 29.

“I felt the love of God personally. This is the bottom line for everything. It helps me give my life because it belongs to Him not to me,” said Lopez. “I’ve given my whole life, my family, my culture, my country, but it’s nothing in comparison to what He’s given me.”

Early in life Lopez formed a personal relationship with the Lord with the help of the Neo Catechumenal Way.    

As a child, Lopez’s parents had marital problems and he felt abandoned by God until his parents joined the international lay movement and began to forgive each other and work things out. At 13, Lopez also decided to join because he’d witnessed how the movement had helped his family heal.

By listening to the priest preach the Gospel Lopez understood the meaning of the   crucifix hanging on the wall of his house.

“There were problems in the family, but that was not the bottom line. The bottom line was Jesus Christ died for me and my life had meaning.”  

Lopez went to World Youth Day 1993 in Denver where Pope John Paul II invited young people to discern their vocational call.

“I was afraid. I didn’t want to give in.”

He returned to Nicaragua to complete high school and begin studies in business administration, but he continued to feel a pull toward the priesthood.

Finally, a priest asked Lopez to consider a vocation and he accepted. Shortly after he attended World Youth Day 1997 in Paris as a confirmation. A week later he went to Porto San Giorgio, Italy, with other men and women of the Neo Catechumenal Way who were discerning a religious vocation. His name was picked out of a hat to be sent to Toronto.

Lopez will be ordained for the archdiocese of Toronto in May where he’ll serve under Archbishop Thomas Collins, but like all Neo Catechumenal Way missionary priests, at the request of the local bishop they welcome a transfer to wherever the need lies, even outside their diocese.              

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