by Gordon Nary
Gordon: Why did you decide to become a priest of the Legionaries of Christ?
Father Jorge: It was a call within my own call to the Priesthood. Inside of me I knew that God was calling me to the priesthood, but I didn't know how to respond. The first signs of my calling started in the early childhood, but the pressuring question came up when I was in College. It was until I encountered the Legionaries of Christ, that I participated in their retreats, missions, and works of charity, that I said to myself: I identify myself with this type of priesthood. A modern priest faithful to the Church and who succeeds in communicating his love for Jesus Christ to the new generations.
This is a very short summary, but all this was preceded by prayer, reading, spiritual direction and the frequency of the sacraments. Everything lasted about 3 and a half years, when I finished my university degree in economics, I decided to do the "candidacy" the period before deciding to enter the seminary.
Gordon: Please provide an overview of your studies.
Father Jorge: The Legionaries of Christ is an International Congregation. I did my novitiate in Canada, my philosophy studies in the United States, my internship also there and in France and finally my theology in Rome, Italy.
The novitiate will always keep a place in my heart. It was the most difficult stage humanly speaking because I had to form my mind, my heart, and habits. It was hard to sacrifice my autonomy. Leaving behind family and friends, my material possessions, and my own life project. However, it was my favorite stage because I was able to deepen my prayer life and the values of religious life.
As for my studies I enjoyed both in philosophy Metaphysics and theology Christology. Both very important to understand the fundamentals of the faith. Metaphysics because it gives you a grasp of reality and helps you out to avoid relativism. Christology is fascinating as well because you deepen in the mystery of Christ, the Son God who became man for us.
Gordon: Please list all the places you have served as a priest/chaplain.
Father Jorge: I have served as a chaplain in Brazil in a Catholic school for almost 4 years and doing youth pastoral. I was actually there during the Rio Olympics 2016! Then I was a vicar priest in Milan for 2 years and a half and I was also in charge of teen and youth pastoral there. It was hard because the COVID pandemics just exploded and Milan was the center of it. I was there until my superiors asked me to be a formator for diocesan seminarians at the Mater Ecclesiae in Rome. It has been a very good experience helping many seminarians from different parts of the world. We have a third coming from Latin America, a second third coming from India and the last third coming from Africa. Here at this International seminary, we really live the Catholicity of the Church.
Gordon: What is your position at the Pontifical Maria Mater College in Rome and what are your main responsibilities?
Father Jorge: For the past year I have been a formator of diocesan seminarians at the Pontifical Maria Mater Ecclesiae College. Seminarians from all over the world, from Latin America, India, Italy, and Africa. My main responsibilities are to accompany the seminarians in their formation process. Meaning to have a monthly dialogue, encourage them to live the spirit and rules of the seminary, nourish their spiritual life through Spiritual Direction, retreats, and personal prayer, to take advantage of their studies, or look for pastoral opportunities here in Europe. At the end I have to play a father figure to them, somebody that is close and cares for them but at the same time being demanding so they can grow in Christ’s likeness.
Gordon: How many seminarians are you currently teaching and what do you enjoy most as a formator of diocesan seminarians?
Father Jorge: I am currently a formator of 25 seminarians. My job is to accompany them in their seminary life: in their prayer life, seminary discipline, in their studies, responsibilities. Once a month I talk to them about some formative topics, and I am also available for their needs and permissions that they need to ask for. What I like the most is talking to them in the formation encounter. There you can know people better, their inner motivation, their dreams, their fears, and faith in Jesus above all. Neither them nor I are protagonist it’s the Holy Spirit that makes Himself present when to faithful get together as brothers.
Gordon: Who is your favorite author and what book do you enjoy the most?
Father Jorge: My favorite author is Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. He is an author who is at the same time erudite, but humble and open to dialogue. He is a very reflective man but deep down, he is a man of deep faith which he nourished at home. I think he reflects the way a modern priest must be, on the one hand to study a lot and give reasons for our faith, to enter into dialogue with the world, and at the same time to have a strong faith that puts all his trust in Jesus Christ. His books on the life of Jesus Christ show just that.
Gordon: Thank you for an inspirational interview.