David Aguilar, St. Raphael Church, Springdale

Attends the House of Formation in Little Rock

My vocation story began when I was involved in the youth group at St. Raphael Church in Springdale. Fresh from Mexico, I felt that the atmosphere and interaction with people, who shared my same faith, would help me adjust to living in a new country.

In that same year some people from the group announced that they would enter the seminary and, in the future, be priests for the Diocese of Little Rock. When I heard that news, I became curious and, for the first time, I wondered if the priesthood was my vocation.

After a while, these young people changed their minds and did not enter the seminary, and my interest in wanting to find out more about this vocation decreased.

The years passed and I had the routine of going one hour a week to the chapel for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. During that time I would reflect about my vocation. At first, my idea was to marry and have a family. In those moments, I prayed to God to give me the talent to be a good person and to be a good Catholic.

In meditation and in prayer, God made it known to me that preparation is very important for the welfare of people. It was in that year that I decided to go to a retreat offered by the diocese to consider a vocation to the priesthood. In this retreat, I noticed that the seminarians preparing for the priesthood were people like me: They had talents and virtues like everyone else.

In that same retreat, they explained that the priesthood is a lifestyle that is accompanied with God and this is accomplished with a life of prayer and meditation. Thereafter in my continual pray and meditation, God made me understand that many of the virtues that I sought, are the qualities that many priests had.

That was when I decided to talk with the vocations director and he suggested that I spend one year as a seminarian and they would support me in the path of discerning this vocation.

Thankfully, and with God's help, I have continued in this path of discovering my vocation. With prayer and meditation and the example of the priests, I discovered that the vocation of the priesthood is a life of love like that of Jesus Christ. Living as a seminarian and offering prayers every day with Mass, my faith has grown.

Above all, because of the example of priests who share pastoral stories that they have lived in their parishes, I am encouraged to follow this vocation. I am also very grateful to the people who pray for me and my fellow seminarians.

In the House of Formation, which is similar to a seminary, I have a weekly pastoral assignment. I take the Eucharist to a nursing home. In the summer, some of us have the opportunity to participate in evangelization teams, where some people from various locations have the opportunity to live with the seminarians, our future priests. I thank God for allowing me this opportunity and I thank the people who everyday pray for me for my fellow seminarians. God bless you all.

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