A monthly series in Vincentian Voices that asks five random questions to an Eastern Province Priest or Brother. This month, we talk with Fr. Astor Rodriguez, C.M. . From Brooklyn to Central America to Spain and locations in between, Fr. Astor, has lived, ministered, and studied in a variety of places as a Vincentian. Brooklyn, though, is home, and where he often finds himself returning to serve. Fr. Astor is currently the Pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Brooklyn.

What am I thankful for?

I guess since I have been in Rome for the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) General Assembly for the last two weeks, I have been reflecting on my life with the Vincentians and as a Vincentian. I am so thankful for each person that has helped in my formation and inspired the way I respond serving the Vincentian way. All have been instrumental by sharing and loving the Vincentian Charism. I have been truly blessed by all the Vincentian Family since my birth.

What advice would I give my younger self?

Take your time, love each moment to the fullest. Don’t burn bridges, you won’t be able to come back to each stage of your life. Cherish them.

If I could transport myself in time?

I would go to the 1500 – 1600’s in Europe, just because the Church was going through so much change. Great saints responding to touchy times in church and society. Teresa de Avila, John of the Cross, Francis de Sales, Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, Joan de Chantal. Each offered great change to the spiritual and apostolic way. Deepening their prayer life, community and commitment in the service of others. “Love is creative to infinity.” (- Saint Vincent de Paul)

What might surprise you about me?

I love nature, mountains and hills, and the ocean. I am always in busy places, one’s full of people and noise. I love music, singing and playing guitar. But I also love those moments in which you can immerse yourself in nature. Let the grandeur of the creation speak to you and remind you of your place among all. It gives me peace and nourishes me to go back with a renewed spirit to my daily life.

What is an easy way to do something nice to others?

First, be present to them, listen to them, see Christ in them. We may bring food, communion, but it’s in the way we bring it. Many people need to be heard, to be listened, that implies time. Especially in these pandemic times, many people feel lonely, forgotten and abandoned by society and family. Many have jumped to respond, but there are so many…may each of us do our part to be with and for all.