My Summer Pastoral Experience in California
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My summer pastoral experience was at Sacred Heart Parish, Patterson, CA, with pastor Fr. R. Rex Hays, C.M., and assistant pastor, Fr. Nhan Huu Tran, C.M. Fr. Prosper Molengi Elenge, C.M. also accompanied me for three of my six weeks at Patterson. The extreme heat of the Central Valley made it a real summer. Despite the heat, it was a great time of pastoral learning and practice. I had many different experiences of pastoral ministry during my time at Sacred Heart.
Among those experiences was Vacation Bible Study, a weeklong program for kids between the ages of four and ten. During that week, the parish team and I played with the children, taught them bible passages, and of course, shared food with them.
Together with an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, I went to visit those who were elderly and ill. We spoke with them, prayed with them and gave them Communion.
On Wednesdays and Fridays, I worked with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, serving lunch to nearly 50 homeless people. Patterson, California and the surrounding area is an agricultural center, with significant local cultivation and production of fresh fruits, nuts, dairy, and meat. Every first Tuesday of the month, the Society gives food to local field workers.
Additionally, I often assisted at the celebration of the Eucharist and Sacraments, and special spiritual programs. I helped with Baptisms and can remember the sound of many kids and babies crying when the priest poured water over each of their foreheads. Together with a team of ten volunteers, I helped to organize a retreat for thirty-eight teenagers — it was a real experience, causing both worry and excitement in me! Of course, while I was there, I also visited the beautiful Yosemite National Park. It is impossible to miss it when you visit California…
In San Vincent,
Leo Tiburcio, C.M.
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Leo Tiburico is a Vincentian seminarian entering his 3rd Theology year in August 2017. In his free time, Leo enjoys watching soccer, running, bicycling and reading.
“I want to share God’s love and mercy with marginalized people.”