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, CM, who serves in Brooklyn, NY.

What was your favorite course or subject in school and why?

My favorite subjects were history and English literature, as they both fed my imagination. History of all our shared past as a nation and world, the different cultures then and what we know now. Literature because it gave the capacity to see new worlds through every book I read. We truly read everything in school. Our teachers were passionate, and they really got us hooked on reading.

What movie have you seen the most times? Please explain.

I am a true movie buff, but I guess the one movie I have seen the most times is, “The Wizard of Oz.” It transports me to my childhood, family, and a place of hope when I follow the yellow brick road and discover that there is no place like home.

If you could ask Saint Vincent de Paul one question, what is the question and why?

There is always the question we ask ourselves as Vincentians: what must be done? I would ask Saint Vincent, what would he do facing today’s new poverties, and our ongoing efforts to address them collaboratively?

Besides connecting with family and friends, what do you like to do in your free time?

I like to play the guitar—it nourishes my creativity and I truly like singing. I also like to watch movies, of all genres. I am not afraid to watch foreign and independent films, and I am always looking for a good plot, and some interesting characters. Also, reading gems like, “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follet, or biographies that give me a more rounded understanding of some famous figures.

If you could have dinner with one non-religious historical figure (dead or alive), who would it be and why? What might you ask them?

That’s a tough question because there seem to be so many people and so many different subjects. One would be Abraham Lincoln. He has always seemed larger-than-life; a man who was compassionate, but strong, and who faced adversity and still fought for what was right in a difficult time in our country.