MARCO ANTONIO CARRASCO
I was born on January 28, 1986, in the city of Tucson to two loving parents, Joaquin S. Carrasco and Blanca Esthela Carrasco Valencia. I entered the world choking myself with my umbilical cord. I guess I thought it was a snake or an enemy of mine, which if it wasn’t for the doctor I would have lost the fight against my own umbilical cord.
Luckily I survived and was in the arms of my mother in the midst of other family members that included my eldest brother Joaquin Carrasco Jr. and my other older brother Miguel Angel Carrasco.
My home as a child was great; I played and fought with my brothers like any other family. I was never alone in my childhood. I received lots of love from both of my parents and protection from my older brothers.
All of this love and protection has taught me how to love and protect. Being the baby of the house has its benefits and privileges but it also takes effort to learn from the wisdom of older family members.
My childhood will never be forgotten because in the midst of troubles and happiness, love was and still is the center of my family, which unites us in a way that only God can unite. I kept busy in my childhood and high school by playing sports like football and soccer. I enjoy playing these sports even now here at the seminary.
-When did you first think about becoming a priest? The first time I had the smallest idea of becoming a priest was when I was 10 years old and I wanted to become an altar server. I told my father to help me become one of those kids in white that join the priest at Mass. Surely, within a month I was serving up on the altar where the greatest gift to human kind makes itself present. I remained an altar server for the next 11 years, but I didn’t have the idea of becoming a priest throughout all those years. The idea or desire would come and go throughout my adolescence.
-Did you have a priest you looked up to in your youth? I remember Father Luis Chavez who was my pastor at Immaculate Conception in Douglas. His charisma, love and fervor for Christ and the Church really interested me. I remember him running around serving, talking, helping, advising, counseling, laughing and loving the people of Christ from our parish. He was and still is for me a great example of priesthood.
-What do you envision your priesthood to be? The priesthood for me is something that only with God’s grace someone could accomplish to be. Priesthood is not easy, but it is possible. I envision the priesthood as a life of love and sacrifice. Love of sacrifice is something that is hard to grasp in life even for me. Love in life is a goal that needs much humility and compassion with and for others.
With the help of seminary formation I hope to grow in these very much-needed important virtues. Sacrifice for the sake of Christ means a lot in the priesthood. To live a faithful life filled with struggles and joys that makes a difference in others’ lives is worth every struggle.
-What do you tell someone who is seriously considering the priesthood? What everybody’s life is centered on is that moment when Christ himself will say “come all you faithful servants join me in my glory.” So to the men who are considering the priesthood I say what Bishop Kicanas told me when I was seriously considering the priesthood: “Marco the only way you will know if the priesthood is for you is by entering the Seminary and discerning.”
When we feel or desire something that is drawing us to the priesthood we should think and discern, not ignore or be afraid of it. Yes, we make sacrifices that normally one wouldn’t make. Some people leave homes, businesses, families, work and millionaires also leave their millions for the sake of the kingdom of God. Most seminarians like me also leave or come to agreements to separate peacefully with great beautiful girlfriends.
To discern is hard, we prepare to leave everything and put all in the hands of God. Only with the Grace of God can we do this. Considering the priesthood is a Great Joy, but it is never a game.
-Do you have a favorite devotion? Throughout the years there has been a devotion that has helped tremendously. Pablet Escalante introduced this devotion to me. This Devotion is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. When I pray this devotion it makes me realize my own imperfections and sinfulness. I realize that God’s Love and Mercy is way bigger and larger than myself including my imperfections and sinfulness.
I also have a special devotion to the Holy Spirit and its company, which I pray to command me and keep me submissive to his will.
-How do you relax? In the seminary I relax by drinking coffee before my personal prayer sitting in the Benedictine monks’ retreat house garden contemplating the variety of God’s created nature.
-Describe a good day at work. A good day in the seminary in my opinion is everyday, but the days that I can say “this is great day” is when everything gets done and God himself is pleased. This is when all dimensions of formation are completed and lived.
For example, Spiritual life: all my prayers are completed. Human Formation: I behaved according to Church teaching, God’s love and guidance and got some exercise in. Academic Formation: this is when all my homework is done. Finally, Vocation Discernment: which is getting to know oneself and my purpose in life.
Of course we cannot forget that the Mass is very essential. When all these things are done, then I can say: “this day was a great day.”
This concludes my sharing of my life and vocation for NOW! The journey keeps on going and I am now in my senior year in undergraduate getting ready to pursue theology in the year to come, God willing. So this is most of my life – I am a normal guy with a normal life, sometimes an extreme life, but I am normal and I am a seminarian.
-Finish this sentence: It would surprise people to know I... It would surprise people to know that I love dancing. Ever since I was a toddler I enjoyed imitating famous dancers like John Travolta, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Elvis, and nowadays people like Usher. Dancing to a variety of music from hip hop, Latin music, country, Mexican country, salsa, to other choreography type dances, well at least I try to dance, sometimes it looks good and sometimes it just isn’t my day.
Carrasco is a seminarian at Mount Angel Seminary, One Abbey Drive, St. Benedict, OR 97373-0506