Monday, July 9, 2012

St. Rafael Guízar Valencia on Seminaries

Bishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles recently gave a talk on Seminary formation in a multicultural context.  For the complete text click here.  Here's an excerpt of Saint Rafael and his secret Seminary!
I have special devotion to St. Rafael Guízar Valencia. He was also a bishop. In fact, he became the first bishop born in the Americas to be made a saint.
During the persecution, the government forced St. Rafael to shut down his seminary. So he did what he was told. At least on the surface. What he really did was start an “underground” seminary.
For the next 15 years, he ran this secret seminary. It was the only seminary in the whole country. He formed more than 300 priests. These priests, through heroic charity and sacrifices, risked their lives to keep the faith alive in Mexico in a very dark time.
St. Rafael said: “A bishop can do without the miter, the crosier and even without the cathedral. But he cannot do without the seminary, since the future of his diocese depends on it.”
I’ve always taken his words seriously in my apostolic ministry as a bishop.
As I see it, there is no more important work in the Church today than the spiritual preparation of men for the priesthood. So the work you are doing is absolutely crucial to the Church’s mission. To the mission of Jesus Christ.

Archbishop Jose Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angelese