Rebirth is a special experience. Jesus told Nicodemus, the Pharisee who visited him by night, that he had to be “born again” to enter the Kingdom of God. Did he have to re-enter his mother’s womb, the man wondered. Jesus did not say no, but he clarified, “Unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (Jn. 3:5)
This last year has been the “Year of the Priest,” and it culminated this last Friday, a week ago with a very special celebration of several thousand priests from all over the world who were gathered in Rome around Pope Benedict XVI at the giant plaza of St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. It was a time to repent of our collective sinfulness in failing fidelity to our vocation, and to acknowledge our dependence on God for his loving kindness, mercy and forgiveness. It a was a time for re-dedication of our lives to the call that the Lord has given us to spend ourselves in loving service of God and His people. It was God’s good time (kairos–moment of grace) to renew our priestly lives and ministry. It was the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, source of God’s loving kindness, compassion, and mercy.
After almost a year of not being able to publicly celebrate Mass on a regular basis because of my heart attack last August, I once again began doing so with great joy. It was like a “First Mass,” and I was especially pleased to do so in the parish where I began my priestly ministry more than forty-six years ago–St. Alphonsus Parish in East Los Angeles, near the corner of Atlantic Blvd. and Whittier Blvd. In fact, I am staying for these few weeks of June in the same room that I occupied as a newly ordained priest in 1964. Indeed, it is like re-entering mother’s womb, a new birth. May the Lord accompany me in this personal physical “re-birth,” and in the henceforth more regular postings on the life and legacy of Padre Martinez.
During the down time of recuperation, I have continued research and writing on the life and legacy of Padre Martinez, and have collaborated with Vicente Martinez and Father Tom Steele.
I hope to renew some past postings that have disappeared into cyberspace, and post new items recently written as well as future postings waiting to be penned. I invite you to check out this blog with some regularity, and to spread the word about it. May it become as interesting for you to read it as it is interesting and fun for me to put it together.
Fr. Juan Romero – Father’s Day 2010