Fidel Mondragon’s Ordination

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by Jessica Rinaudo

Before Fidel Mondragon landed in the Diocese of Shreveport, he spent many years in various seminaries, countries and a religious order, discerning the vocation God had planned for his life. After being a seminarian for the Diocese of Dallas, which downsized their foreign vocations, Fidel returned to Mexico before becoming a seminarian for the Diocese of Shreveport. That was two years ago.

And Fidel has made the most out of his two years as a seminarian for our diocese. He first went to Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans where he took review classes on the sacraments and history of the Church, as well as English as a Second Language. He relished this time both for improving his English and for getting to know his brother seminarians of our diocese. Of them Fidel said,  “I got to know them, because once a month we would have dinner together – we would talk about how things were going.”

After finishing his seminary classes in May of last year, Fidel moved to Mansfield, where he assisted Fr. Matthew Long in parish life.
“When I arrived in Mansfield, I got involved with the community,” said Fidel. “I helped the Hispanic and Anglo communities… I started a new program – Christian Formation for Adults and Bible classes with Hispanics on Tuesdays. I visited people, I prayed the rosary with them. I helped Fr. Matthew with the Masses.”

During this time he also taught adult formation classes and assisted with retreats at St. Mary of the Pines in Shreveport, and Christ the King in Bossier City. His formation classes expanded to St. Thomas Aquinas in Ruston and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Farmerville, allowing Fidel to become acquainted with people across the diocese.

It was during this time that Fidel organized a Year of Mercy event for the Hispanic community.

“Rosalba Quiroz [Hispanic Ministry Director] asked me to organize the visit to the Holy Door with the Hispanic Community because it was the Year of Mercy. We invited all of the diocese. … We organized a Stations of the Cross and did them in the Cathedral. After that, we explained the Year of Mercy, the meaning of mercy and why Pope Francis convoked the Year of Mercy. Then we had a holy hour with Fr. Rigo Betancurt, Fr. Al Jost and Fr. Blane O’Neill.  Bishop Duca was there, too,” said Fidel.

On December 10, 2016, Fidel was ordained to the transitional diaconate at St. Mary of the Pines, and a month later Bishop Duca assigned him to the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, also serving St. Mary of the Pines two days a week. He still continues in this assignment.

“In the Cathedral I help with the everyday Mass and I have helped two times with the homily in English,” said Fidel “I help with the funerals, with the school Masses.”

After two years, Fidel has adjusted from life in Mexico to life in north Louisiana, and embraces his vocation here with open arms. The people and clergy, in turn, have welcomed him warmly.

“I am so grateful for Bishop Duca and all the priests here. They are very kind to me and welcome me. They tell me, ‘Fidel you are welcome. We are very glad to have you.’ They encourage me,” said Fidel.

“I feel comfortable here, I feel welcome in both communities. The Spanish community, ok they love you, but the Anglo community is very warm and they receive me,” added Fidel.

“I want to be part of this diocese, to consecrate my life as a priest,” he said.

And after so many years of discerning and traveling, Fidel is excited to finally be approaching his ordination to the priesthood and his ministry as a Catholic priest.

“I look forward to helping the people. I want to be the person who can manifest this mercy of God, this love of God and help the people be close to Christ. Because I talk with the people… they need somebody to hear them. I know my priest ordination is close, but this is when my work will begin,” said Fidel.
He added, “I remember my instructors in the seminary said, ‘This is not your goal to be a priest. The goal is first, your salvation.’ Following this vocation, I want to be with God, but I want many people, through me to be saved, too. They will hear the Word of God. I can give the Body of Christ. I can forgive sins, it is not me, but I can be this instrument. … This is what I want most for the people: to be this instrument to manifest the mercy of God, the love of God and drive them to Christ.”

As he reflected back on his long journey to the priesthood, Fidel shared stories of his time in seminary. One in particular reflected his vocational path.
“Sometimes when I was walking in the seminary, I would say, ‘I have this class and it is very difficult. And I will have a presentation tomorrow and the priest, he is tough.’ But I did my presentation, and when I finished I felt very good. I said, ‘This is not me on my own. Many people are praying for me, for my vocation. My family, my friends, the people around the world are praying for the seminarians, for the priests. … And after this difficult presentation I went to the chapel and I said, ‘Thank you God. For you are behind me, you sustain me. And I want to continue – because if you continue calling me, I want to continue answering you.’”

Fidel’s ordination to the priesthood will be Saturday, June 10, at 10:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans. Bishop Michael Duca will ordain Fidel as a priest for the Diocese of Shreveport. All members of the faithful are encouraged to attend.

“As a diocese, we are fortunate that Fidel’s journey has brought him to us so that he can serve the wonderful people of our region,” said Bishop Duca.  “I am anxious for our local Church to benefit from his ministry as an ordained priest and I believe he has so much to offer to our entire faith community.”

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