What was your career or background before entering the seminary?:
I was studing Philosophy and Theology in the Pontifical Bolivarian University in Medellin-Antioquia, Colombia, looking for a better training in my religious life. I have always thought that a better training can help not only my Christian life, also the Christian life of the people who share with me their faith.
What were major Catholic activities you participated in prior to attending the seminary?:
I worked at various times as a professor of religious studies, philosophy and ethics in high school, and as a teacher of history, geography and politics in an institution for adult education. I was working at my home parish Our Lady of the Way. I was in front of the whole pastoral work there assisting in the areas of sacramental, biblical and social studies. Also I was working with the Religious Congregation Fransciscans of the Holy Spirit as a Francisican spirituality professor. I helped a religious community, Fathers and Sisters of Good Counsel in shaping official texts in the theological, biblical and canonical parts.
What are your favorite hobbies?:
My favorite hobbies are: Listening music especially classical music, singing and playing guitar. Also I really enjoy movies and reading a good book. I love to talk with people and learn their different faces, language and cultures. I enjoy a cup of coffee with a good friend, talking about our God, our faith and our lives. I have fun when I am talking about funny things with my friends.
When did you first think that God was calling you to be a priest?:
All my Christian life has been a call from God to move on. Sutdies, pastoral activities, work as a teacher and especially the contact with the sick and the elderly people have led me to understand that God wants me to serve Him entirely and wants to commend me to one specific mission in the Church. I replied to him consecrating my life in poverty, obedience and chasitity. But God continues to insist on something more concrete, to be a priest. I considered that I do not have the necessary qualities to be a priest because I think; it is a state of sublime life. However, God in His desire has strengthened my life and personality enabling me to his mission and I have accepted his proposal. Every day God is calling me through all priests who He has put in my new way. Everything in this new experience is a sign that God wants me to be a saint. I know that a priest is a person who has dedicated his life to God and has the mission to be a connection betweeen God and other human beings. Becoming a saint means to live according with the life God is calling us to and the way is Christ lived in our Church.
Who influenced/inspired you to consider diocesan priesthood?:
Mainly my pastor Fr. Andres Restrepo and then people, who know me, love me and know about my relationship with God. Now I have had many strong influences in this new experience, I am talking about priests who were looking for me in my country, who trusted me and those who have done everthing in their power to make this path I am taking one of certainty and courage.
Please describe the importance of prayer in your life:
First, I think what is most needed is an awareness of the need for God in a life which claims to be Christian. Second, search assiduously the Lord in intimate dialogue with him. Third, make every moment of daily living spaces for prayer. Finally, be a regular member of the community prayer. Prayer is the place where souls are with God and where the spirit is trengthened tofollow the path. God and the human being together in a love encouter. A Christian life without prayer is poor; a ministerial life without prayer is a barren garden.