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Seminarian ordained a deacon in Rome

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Mauricio Portillo, who attends the Pontifical North American College in Rome, was ordained a transitional deacon in Rome Sept. 30, marking a major milestone on his path to the priesthood.

He grew up in San Miguel, El Salvador, and then attended Falls Church High School, the Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso in Madrid, and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

What are you looking forward to about being a deacon? I am looking forward to doing all the ministries that a deacon can do. But what attracts me more is to assist the priest at Mass. To be able to be closer to the altar where Our Lord makes himself present after the words of consecration is definitely the thing that I have been waiting to do since I began my formation in the seminary.

Favorite family or cultural tradition? My favorite cultural tradition is the way Salvadoran families celebrate Christmas Eve. We welcome the Infant Jesus with fireworks; we prepare the best food of the year; we wear the best clothes (usually new ones); we clean the house as a family and do many other things to get ready for that important day.

What's been your favorite part of seminary so far? My first favorite part of seminary has been my summer assignments. They have provided me the opportunity to meet many people in the parish and put into practice a lot of things that I had learned through my seminary formation. An assignment that I particularly remember is a summer that I spent in the mission that the Arlington diocese oversees in Bánica, Dominican Republic. It was an experience that reassured me about my path to the priesthood.

My second favorite part of seminary has been the opportunity to establish deep friendships among other seminarians here. As the years of formation have passed by, I have made a group of very good friends who support each other, and God willing, we will continue to do so as priests. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021