Fidel Mondragón to be Ordained to Transitional Diaconate

On December 10, 2016, seminarian Fidel Mondragón will be ordained to the transitional diaconate, one of the final steps a seminarian takes before being ordained a priest. After this ordination, he will serve as a deacon until his priestly ordination in 2017.

A native of Mexico, Fidel has been a welcome addition to our seminarian pool, especially as the Diocese of Shreveport experiences a rise in our number of Hispanic Catholics. Meeting their needs is key to helping them sustain their Catholic faith.

Raised the son of a farming family in Mexico, Fidel’s parents put great stock in their family’s Catholic faith, saying the Rosary together every night. Just making it to Mass was difficult for the family who owned no car, so together they would make the one hour trek to the nearest church, either on horse or on foot. Fidel would sit on the floor of the church, directly in front of the priest with the other children.

“Since I was a little child, I felt I wanted to be a priest, since I was 11 or 12 years old, before I finished my elementary school,” said Fidel. “When I went to Mass with my mom, I saw the priest celebrating the Mass and I said, ‘When I grow up and get older, I want to be a priest.’”

Fidel’s path to the priesthood has been a long and winding one. When he first approached the seminary at age 17, he realized he wasn’t prepared to leave home or his father’s farm yet. A year later he moved to the United States with his brother, where he worked in the Dallas area for nine years. At one point, Fidel thought his vocation might be to marriage and family, but after a retreat with the Piarist Fathers, he applied to pursue priesthood through their religious order and was accepted. Over the next two years, Fidel attended seminary in Miami, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
The Piarist Fathers primarily worked in the classrooms teaching, a worthy vocation, but not one that spoke to Fidel. “When I was in the classrooms, I wanted to be a diocesan seminarian. I talked to my spiritual director… I said, Father, it is very good the work that you do, that you all do, but I want to be a diocesan priest.”

Despite wanting to return to his home diocese in Mexico, a priest from the Diocese of Dallas convinced Fidel that priests were needed in the United States to assist the growing Catholic Mexican population.

“Don’t be in the place that you want to be,” the priest told him, “You be in the place that the people need you.” The Diocese of Dallas supported Fidel for four years while he attended seminary in Mexico. After completing his fourth year, Dallas made many changes in their vocational program and decided to no longer support seminarians in other countries.

With the help of the seminary rector in Mexico, Fidel began to seek another diocese to join. They looked at several dioceses, but Fidel knew Fr. Rogelio Alcantara who teaches at the seminary and often visits the Diocese of Shreveport. Fr. Rogelio made introductions for Fidel with the Diocese of Shreveport. Vocations Director Fr. Matthew Long traveled to visit the seminary in Mexico to meet Fidel. Together, and with permission from Bishop Duca, they agreed that Fidel would become a seminarian for the Diocese of Shreveport.

by Jessica Rinaudo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>