Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Jul
  • 11

Hope comes from around the world

Posted By July 11, 2013 | 12:42 pm | Lead Story #1
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By Tanya Connor

Fellow Colombians inspired him to pursue priesthood, despite the violence and poverty that surrounded them. He went forth from them to the missions, where Catholics from around the world give him hope for the Church.
He is now called Father Dario Acevedo; he was ordained a priest by Bishop McManus June 29 at St. Paul Cathedral.
Father Acevedo was born Nov. 6, 1980 in Medellin, Colombia, the son of Dario Antonio Acevedo and Blanca Nubia Herrera Amaya. As a child he never thought of being a priest, he said; that didn’t happen until his last year at Jesus of Hope High School.
“From my mom I learned that in serving others you experience great joy,” Father Acevedo said. “And then I experienced that through my mother’s side of the family, living in a neighborhood with all the difficulties you can imagine, bad beyond all the violence and other issues. But it was a beautiful time. I grew up seeing people helping each other with the little they had.
“Parish life was a very important part of our lives: catechesis, Christmas novena, parish missions. That all shaped in me, little by little, the desire to serve others, but within the Church – as a priest.
“I learned that nobody’s worthy. … Priesthood is a gift, not just something you earn. I keep praying I receive that gift, so I can share with others the love of Christ, within the Church and outside the Church.”
After high school he went through military service, then on to study electronics, he said. But the vocation beckoned.
“I stopped and I went to seminary,” at Pontifical Bolivarian University, he said. “And then I fell in love with philosophy and then with theology. And that helped me to discern. Plus the work of the parishes, being with the people of the parishes … helped me to realize how important is the figure of the priest.”
The priest is only a little part of the whole, but an essential part, so people can receive the sacraments and strengthen their lives, drawing closer to God and one another, he said. They can see the Church goes beyond their weaknesses and limits.
In Colombia he experienced basically one culture, he said. But in 2007 he came here with other Colombians who’ve now been ordained for the Worcester Diocese.
“For us this is a mission,” he explained. “We are sharing the blessing of a vocation, going beyond your comfort zone, being exposed to … another reality of the Church.”
He lived at Holy Name of Jesus House of Studies for a year while studying English at Clark University, then went to St. John’s Seminary in Brighton.
In the Worcester Diocese he got a look at the universal Church.
“For me that was quite an experience, to experience the different ways to live the faith in different communities in one diocese – where you can share with the Africans, the Brazilians, the Portuguese,” he said. And Hispanics and Anglos too. “It was such a joy to learn from them with their own styles. … That’s what gave me a lot of happiness and hope,” hope that members of the Church can live together despite differences.