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Pastor, Holy Family Parish,
I was born in Homun, in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, 30
miles from Merida, the capital of the Yucatan State. My
family has been catholic ever since I remember, my Father’s
Family were immigrants from Lebanon and Cuba and from my
mother’s side Spanish and Mayan but more Mayan than Spanish.
Under the guidance of my God-Father and Pastor, Father
Eduardo Pacheco, I was encouraged to learn French, and at the of
15 and immature I didn’t like it at all. I decided to learn
Italian better than French and that is how my love for this
culture started, first learning through music and art and then,
through grammar and vocabulary.
I never realized that
the greatest hits in Mexico, were mostly translations from
Italian like Maledetta Primavera, Bella Signora, and many other
songs from Nicola di Bari, Lucio Dalla, Marco Rancatti, Gianni
Morandi, Fiordaliso, etc… It was exciting to know that most of
the songs that I learned growing up were originally from Italian
composers and singers. I love it!
Years after, I decided
to take Italian as my second Language in the Pontifical
University of Mexico, while studying Philosophy as part of my
priestly formation. Who would guess that I will end up being
send to Rome, to complete my theological studies.
weeks after arriving at the general house of the Theatine
Fathers, The Sant´Andrea della Valle Basilica, in the heart of
Rome. Father Antonio and I were sent to the Vatican to take some
blessings at the Elemosineria Apostolica, which is an agency on
the left wing of the Vatican City. Somehow, we ended up at the
general audience with Pope St. John Paul II, to my surprise the
first face I saw going through the hundreds of People there, was
Bishop Arthur N. Tafoya´s face, (may He rest in peace) It was
like if a little piece of the States and Colorado was right
there in his smile with Sister Andrea Vazquez, and I must be
honest, I cried while hugging Bishop.
That was also like
a good message telling me that everything was going to be not
only good but great.
It was hard to say goodbye to Bishop Tafoya and return to
my house and start my formation at the Gregorian University in
Years after we had the opportunity to attend the
funeral of St. John Paul II, with my classmates and thousands of
people gathered in Rome.
As part of The Theatine International College, we had the
chance once a year to serve during any of the solemnities
available at the Vatican, we had to be super sharp and shaved,
which I did not follow, Pope Benedict made note of my goatee
with the motion of his finger around it and asked me ¨what is
that?¨ A little after he shook his head looking at me because I
was so engrossed and excited in watching him, that I didn’t
notice the thurible with lit charcoal next to my hand that I had
to shake after feeling the heat of the thurible.
experience the “Eternal City” was a good way to deepen into the
Italian culture with its particular Romanity that Church life
has. Rome, Italy, the heart of faith and
Fr. Tomas is an Associate Member and valued guest columnist for
Sons of Italy Lodge 2738