By OSCAR MAGALLANES
I grew up in a typical Mexican family, traditional, classic, and, of course, Catholic. At times, though, it was in name only although my parents always taught us love of Church, and in fact, one of my sisters was my first catechist…She still scolds me.
-When did you first think about becoming a priest?
This has always been a dream of mine, since I was a child, and soon, in a few days, it will be realized. As you know, I was a married deacon (permanent). Marriage for me was a beautiful experience, I had an extraordinary partner, totally devoted to her role of wife and mother, but our Lord wanted to take her and when that happened, I set upon the task of reflecting on my future. I found no better idea than that of entering the seminary, at the very least, to give back to the Lord for all that he does for me.
-Did you have a priest you looked up to in your youth?
There have been and there are a great number of priests who inspire and strengthen me. You’ll see these friends of mine on the day of my ordination, God willing. But the one who inspired us is none other than the famous “Padre Nacho,” from Nogales, a fond memory now. He inspired a great many people, especially us and me personally.
-What do you envision your priesthood to be?
I want to walk with God’s great family to heaven, on a journey of faith and hope, in pursuit of the beatific vision to see God, face to face with great joy. I want to be part of that hope, I want to carry the message of salvation, I want to seek a transformation of mind and heart the way Saint Paul did and to be the Lord’s slave 24 hours a day.
-What is your greatest joy as you contemplate the priesthood?
The greatest joy will be to show people the way to salvation—to reunite these people with God through the sacrament of reconciliation, to nourish them with the only nourishment that gives them life and life in abundance. To fulfill this priestly obligation will be my greatest joy and I will do it with all of my will and strength, and with all my soul.
-What do you tell someone who is considering the priesthood?
To go for it. Come experience and live this great adventure of service; that they are needed; that our Lord calls, that they should pay attention to and listen to the call; not to waste time on other things because this is urgent; to let God use them. Finally, I would say to them “Go for it, man. If I am almost there, there is no reason you can’t.”
-Do you have a favorite devotion?
Like any good Mexican, my favorites are those of the people, especially I like to read the Liturgy of the Hours. It is a good way to begin the day, and of course, I am devoted to Our Blessed Mother. She as our mother protects the priest and intercedes on his behalf during every moment of our existence.
-How do you relax? Do you have a favorite vacation and/or retreat spot?
My relaxation is very simple: I read, I talk to friends, I visit my mother and brothers and sisters, I think of childhood memories, joking around and having fun with them relaxes me. My family is very large and we get together often with my mother. We always turn these reunions into a party.
-Describe a good day at the seminary.
For me, every day was a good day. Completing an exam, conversing with other seminarians were good days. As a matter of fact, in seminary, I was known as the Happy Mexican, who always said and says “Wonderful.” To me, all days were wonderful.
-Finish this sentence: “I would surprise people to know I …” that I have a black belt in martial arts.
Having completed his seminary work, Oscar Magallanes has been ordained by Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas and now Father Magallanes is serving as parochial vicar at Yuma’s Immaculate Conception Parish.