Changing paths on the road to the priesthood

  • April 25, 2007
TORONTO - Two years ago Ignacio Pinedo was to be ordained a missionary priest with the Scarboro Missions religious community based in Toronto, but close to his ordination date the superior asked him to take some time off to discern his call.
“This community saw my tendencies were straying away,” said Pinedo, 47.

After taking two years off to discern and take a few education courses at the University of Toronto he decided that his true call was as a diocesan priest with the archdiocese of Toronto.

Initially, Pinedo felt drawn to Scarboro Missions to work as a missionary in Third World countries because he had grown up in Venezuela witnessing its poverty first hand. 

“That’s the paradox of the Catholic Church. Countries that are 99 per cent Catholic have the least amount of priests,” he said.

But while outreach and social justice is important to Pinedo, he knew deep down that he wanted to be a parish priest.

“People stray where the parish isn’t the centre.... You become so focused on the social aspect, you forget the spiritual side.”

Born in Bilbao, Spain, Pinedo moved with his parents and two older siblings to Venezuela after birth. He earned a systems engineering degree from the University of Central Florida, went back to Venezuela to work for a few years and then at 36 immigrated to Mississauga, Ont., because of political troubles in his adopted country.

He started to discern a vocation while in Mississauga at St. Ignatius Loyola parish when he got very involved with the young adult ministering group.

“Some people have these God experiences. This eureka ‛ah-ha - this is it!’ But for me it was gradual. I didn’t feel fulfilled working at an office job. I felt more fulfilled doing parish ministry.”    

After a year-long hands-on internship at Holy Family parish in Whitby, Ont., as a deacon, Pinedo said he’s prepared to make his final vows May 12 at St. Michael’s Cathedral.

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