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‘A priest for everyone’

First slide

Deacon Guillermo J. Gonzalez’s ordination won’t be quite what he expected. But his journey to the priesthood has taught him to be ready for anything. 

“If you count the years I was in a religious community, I’ve been in formation for almost 12 years,” said Deacon Gonzalez.  For him and his family, “Our own history helped us realize that you have to be patient and God’s time is not your time. That was my attitude.”

He was born March 17, 1989, in Sonsonate, El Salvador. He and his family moved to the United States when he was 12 years old. He attended St. Leo the Great Church in Fairfax and graduated from Westfield High School in Chantilly in 2008. After high school, he entered formation for Community of the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, studying at San Dámaso Ecclesiastical University in Madrid.

Beginning in 2016, he spent a year studying at The Catholic University of America in Washington to be closer to home as his father battled stomach cancer and as he and his family mourned the death of his older brother, Emerson. The experience led him to leave the community a year later and enter formation for the Arlington Diocese. 

He was ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge at St. Leo Jan. 26, and since then has served at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Winchester. 

“I’ve been doing a lot of baptisms and funerals here at the parish. I remember the first day I did my first baptism and you all of a sudden realize, oh my gosh, I’m just an instrument, but I’m really important because this little kid is going to be able to receive the grace of God through me,” he said. “I’m a nobody, but thanks be to God and thanks be to ordination, I can actually give this kid eternal life and grace. It's just amazing.”

Since the pandemic, he’s been doing online reflections in Spanish for the parishioners and assisting at Masses. “We all learned how to livestream the Masses and now I’m like an expert,” said Deacon Gonzalez. 

After being ordained to the priesthood, he will celebrate his first Mass at St. Leo. At the end of June, he will become parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament Church in Alexandria. He’s looking forward to continuing to serve the English- and Spanish-speaking Catholics of the diocese. “It’s great to work in a parish and realize you’re a priest for everybody,” he said. “It’s been amazing to be a minister in both languages.”

Maraist can be reached at zoey.maraist@catholicherald.com or Twitter @zoeymaraistACH.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020