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placeholder August 14, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 14   •   Oakland, CA

During the Rite of Ordination, the deacons lay at the foot of the altar, Arturo Bazan is at left, Mario Rizzo at right.
CHRIS SILVA/THE CATHOLIC VOICE

'If I can't ring the church bells, I can preach the Gospel'

I was born and raised in beautiful Mexico City. We lived close to the Insigne and National Basilica of Guadalupe. However, my home parish of St. Martin de Porres was only 10 blocks from my house. Every day I listened to the ringing sound of the bells when they called people to attend Mass.

Rev. Mr. Arturo Bazan

"I like how they sound," I remember saying to myself, "someday, I will ring those bells myself." When I turned 8 years old, a family member, who was helping in the parish, invited me to participate as an altar boy, and told me, "If you become an altar boy, you will ring the bells of the church." My family was active in their Catholic faith, so it was natural that I accepted the invitation. During the time that I served as an altar boy I was in charge of ringing the bells of the church; it was very exciting!

Serving at the altar was one of the most beautiful experiences I have of my childhood. I think that it was my first mission of evangelization, to call the faithful to come and meet with God in the Eucharist.

Now that I reflect on this experience, I believe that God was calling me since then to follow the footsteps of the Lord Jesus. However, I was too young to be fully conscious of that call, and back then no one suggested to me the option of becoming a padrecito (priest).

 
Related Stories

Two ordained as deacons,
on their way to the priesthood


'Speak, Lord, your servant
is listening'
 
During my adolescence, I stopped actively practicing my faith, and became distant to God. I found myself in many street conflicts, used drugs and put my life at risk on several occasions. The consequences of my actions led me to be away from my family, my country and mainly from God.

One day, unexpectedly, God put in my path good people who helped me to return to and practice my Catholic faith. I had a deep encounter with the Lord and this experience changed my life forever. I began a path of inner healing that led me to a deep relationship with God.

Eight years ago, during a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, I heard the voice of God deeply in my heart. He was calling me to be a priest. And after two years of discernment, I accepted the call and went to the seminary. I studied for and received a bachelor's degree in philosophical studies at the Seminario Hispano of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. I am currently in my last year of studies for the master's degree in divinity and theological studies at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park.

Even though being in the seminary has been an exciting and wonderful experience, I had to face many challenges and accept certain sacrifices that have helped me to know myself, and to accept with greater gratitude and joy my limitations and capabilities. The knowledge that God has shared with me through all this time of formation has been a wonderful gift that will help me to embrace the mission of the Church, especially in the Diocese of Oakland, which strives "to know Christ better and make Him better known."

Perhaps as a deacon I cannot ring the bells of the parish anymore; however, my mission will be to preach the word of God, to be in service of others and to celebrate certain sacraments that make the faithful assemble in the church and meet with our Lord. In this sense, my life can be a constant bell chiming to announce that Christ is Lord and that He truly lives among us.

 
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