Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Being a home-based seminarian means a lot to me. If I am honest, it is hard at the same time. This is because all of the sudden I have a big responsibility in front of my parish and this is not just in regard to the Comboni priests that are guiding me, but a lot more for faithful in the community. This is because as a seminarian, we are called to represent the church. In fact, I feel that I am the ‘good face of Holy Cross’ and that is a heavy ‘cross’ to carry when you are young and the eyes of everyone in the community are on you. In the picture: Luis Salazar and Fr. Crist Aletti, mccj.

Nevertheless, so far, I have so much fun been a ‘good guy’ too: I’ve been helping the community, teaching first communion to the young kids, being proud observing how they grow up in age, but above all, in their love for our catholic faith. It is a privilege watching how they learn and apply the new acquired ideas into their daily lives. This is what my parish administrator says: “having a personal encounter with Jesus”. This makes me feel good about myself.

I enjoy being a home-based seminarian, because I can make a difference in the life of other young people. I also offer advice to the youth because I am young and belong to the youth group of my parish. I do not mind guiding them because indeed some need help or my own good example. In fact, what would I be if I were not in the way of the Lord? Maybe another statistic of South-Central LA of a failed youngster enrolled in gangs and low-life activities. I love working with the youth because I believe that they are our future leaders and guiding them in the right direction by loving God and coming to church, I help my parish church to show the young people what the right direction is. As a matter of fact, I’m soon going to start a new teen-age group at Holy Cross and my mentor and adviser will be Father Alberto Pimentel, mccj. I am glad he trusts me with the opportunity to start one small teen age group in the parish, even though I do not feel up to the challenge. Yet I am very excited about this prospective and I have lots of plans. Having this group is going to be very exciting to me but I know that being the founder of this group will be a life changing experience. I say this because some of the youth here in South Central Los Angeles need special guidance and advice. Some kids do not have a safe place to hang out. So, by starting this teen-age group, I hope to provide them with a safe place to say and express what they desire.

I also help out during Sunday mass. Actually, I am an altar servant who sometimes stays for one or two masses, just to make sure that I receive the Gospel message right. I don't mind staying because I love it here at Holy Cross. Many of the people who attend Sunday mass here are very nice and welcoming. They also greet me with love and great appreciation. So much so that it makes me feel very good about myself. I feel totally embraced by my co-parishioners because they even pronounce my name with great love and care as they now call me “Luisito” instead of just “Luis”. In fact, people are praying for me as I discern my missionary vocation as Home-based Comboni seminarian. Moreover, I like talking to everyone here at Holy Cross even if it is just a hi. Some people also tell me that they pray for me and are always asking God to always put me in the right steps. I also got letters from a group of Comboni Auxiliary Ladies from Monroe, Michigan. I am amazed that even if they do not know me, they think of me and for that I am very appreciative for their words and their prayers.

My school life is very interesting and sometimes stressful. Being a premed major student, at the University of California in Los Angles requires a lot of school hours and dedication. Hopefully in 5 years I’ll be finishing, but I always pray to God so God can guide me into the best steps no matter what I become at the end. I also have big plans for the time I graduate and become a pediatrician. My goal is to open up my own clinic. The reason why I want to open up my own clinic is because there is a lot of people that cannot afford to see a doctor. Some also fear going to the doctors because of their immigration status and fear of deportation. That is why I want to do all of this, although, as I said before, with the help of God and making the right choices whenever is possible.

This is what I can say about my short missionary vocation and wonder if any other young person would like to dare to choose Christ in their life. In fact, Fr. Alberto entrusted me with forming a group of prospective candidates to priesthood and religious life to come forward on Holy Thursday so that our parish may adopt them as new home-based seminarians and their names be included in the prayer for vocations every Sunday and in every group and ministry at Holy Cross. This is the way I myself came forward to my community and I am so happy that so far, five new candidates signed in for this activity. Please keep us in your prayers and ask the good Lord to inspire us to answer his call with audacity and conviction. Ask the Lord that we become more holy and capable as Saint Daniel Comboni wishes his missionaries would be in this new time and age. In the meantime, receive my blessings and regards from Los Angeles in California.

Luis Salazar
Holy Cross Catholic Church, LA USA