by Gordon Nary
Gordon: When you received your Vocation, with whom did you first discuss it and what was their advice?
Padre Gonzalo: I have to say that God called me several times to follow him. I remember perfectly the moments in which I gradually felt his presence and his invitation. They were all moments in which God sent me a sign so that I could understand little by little what his will was for me. In any case, I consider that God clearly called me during a pilgrimage to Rome with my friends. I was in the Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican and, seeing a group of seminarians and priests who were attending the audience with the Holy Father, I heard a voice telling me “Why aren't you like them?". From that moment on, I decided to start a period of discernment about my vocation.
The first time I spoke about vocation with someone it was with a Regnum Christi consecrated person, a movement of which I have been part since I was young. I remember that he advised me to worship as a privileged relationship with God in which a heart-to-heart dialogue takes place. The real presence of God in our lives provokes an attitude of adoration in which the creature experiences the demand to love the Creator above all things. He told me that the prayer of adoration was the best way to discern my vocation because in adoration we really find ourselves in front of God and we become aware of who we are in relation to Him.
Gordon: Where did attend seminary, and what was your favorite course, and why was it your favorite?
Padre Gonzalo: I went to the Legionaries of Christ seminary in Salamanca, Spain. The vocation to a religious congregation begins with two years of prayer, reflection and silence, in which the vocation is deepened. This period is called the novitiate and consists of developing the call of God by leading a life in community that encourages and facilitates prayer and study. I remember that my favorite course was the Sacred Scripture course. It allowed to know the Bible, in particular the Gospel, as the word of God with its different meanings. It taught me to read Sacred Scripture in a very concrete and experiential way. I was struck by the preaching of Christ with his message of salvation and his lifestyle that proposes to men a way to discover the absolute truth and good.
Gordon: Why did you decide to be a member of Legionnaires of Christ?
Padre Gonzalo: In truth, I am not the one who decided to be a member of the Legionaries of Christ. I believe that God established the necessary conditions to receive the call to this specific religious congregation. In the Church there are many charisms, different vocations to holiness. I knew the Regnum Christi movement and the Legionaries of Christ from a young age, and I participated in the spiritual and formation activities organized by them. I believe that the vocation to the priesthood was to follow God's call to live the Christian faith in the charism of this movement within the Church. I believe that vocation is a path of discernment that should not be understood as a personal decision, but as a call to holiness where God wants it. It is true that it is not easy to understand our place and that, sometimes, there are few certainties on which we can rely. Faith, hope and love are necessary to be able to walk in life according to the will of God.
Gordon: Where are you assigned and what are your current responsibilities?
Padre Gonzalo: I am currently working in the city of Milan, in Italy. I take care of the French-speaking community of the diocese, and I support the various activities organized by Regnum Christi in the city. I also work in the universities that the congregation has in the city of Rome: the Pontifical ReginaApostolorum University and the European University of Rome. At the university, I lead the Integral Formation Department, which develops a student profile that includes skills in human and social training, beyond the knowledge and intellectual abilities offered by each career. I also participate in the Sacerdos Institute, whose mission is the ongoing formation of priests. I also collaborate with International VIS Foundation, which is dedicated to human and educational training in developing countries.
Gordon: What impact has the Covid-19 pandemic had on your teaching?
Padre Gonzalo: I believe that the pandemic has had a very strong impact on the teaching-learning process at all educational levels. On the one hand, Covid-19 has changed the psychology of students and teachers, since isolation has modified the rhythms of life and social relationships between people. Life in university educational centers has been affected, as well as organized educational activities. Students and teachers have had to adapt the educational relationship during the time of the pandemic with the consequent human and social effects.
On the other hand, Covid-19 has made it necessary to adapt academic work and university teaching to the health situation, having to resort mainly to online education. Teachers live the academic dynamics projection, management, teaching in a virtual way, which modifies the way they work with each other and the relationship they have with the students. The students, for their part, receive the courses and are evaluated thanks to the information and communication technologies, they also reduce the relationship between them to the contact that virtual educational platforms facilitate.
Gordon: Who is your favorite saint and why is this saint your favorite?
Padre Gonzalo:The communion of saints is a very beautiful reality in the Christian faith. Knowing that we all share in the same spiritual goods and that we can intercede for one another creates a Christian family spirit that reminds us that we are all brothers and sisters and that we have the same Father. I like many saints and I entrust myself to them often. I could cite Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Charles de Foucauld, Saint Francis Xavier or Saint John Paul II. A common characteristic that I like about them is that they have lived the mission of bringing Christ into the world with great hope, despite the difficulties they encountered in their lives. I would also like to mention my guardian angel, who has a lot of work with me, but who takes care of me from heaven and helps me persevere in faith and vocation.
Gordon: Thank you fora great Interview.