Ever since I was a young boy, I was active in the life of the Church. At the age of six, I joined the children’s choir at St. John the Baptist Parish in my hometown of Brazilia, Brazil. Over the years, I got involved in many different ministries, especially those related to missionary life.
I think it was because I actively participated in so many different apostolates that I began to think about becoming a priest. My parish was staffed by the Divine Word Missionaries. At the time, I did not know about the difference between diocesan and religious priests. Everything I was involved with seemed very missionary to me.
In 2008 I joined the propaedeutic year with the Divine Word Missionaries, or SVD for short. That is an introductory or preliminary year when I was discerning more about my vocation. In 2009, I started my philosophical studies and entered the SVD novitiate in 2012. I professed my first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a Divine Word Missionary in January of 2013.
Following novitiate, I began my theology studies where I was learning more to prepare for the priesthood. After two years of study, I entered the Overseas Training Program (OTP) sometimes called the Cross-Cultural Training Program (CTP). On Feb. 1, 2015 I flew to the SVD Southern Province in the Philippines where I spent three years. First, I studied English and Bisaya so that I would be prepared to serve the people of the Philippines. After about a year, I spent time at different SVD parishes to learn more about missionary ministry and to begin serving God’s people. Before I left the Philippines, I went back to Cebu to study more about different apostolates, such as campus ministry, healthcare ministry, working with the homeless and ministering to people who live in and near garbage dumpsites.
My time in the Philippines was a very enriching experience and a very important part of my formation. As Divine Word Missionaries, we are called to be at the side of those who have neither a voice nor a chance to succeed in this world. My OTP experience widened my horizons and motivated me to continue my journey to become a Divine Word Missionary.
Last year I returned to São Paulo, Brazil, to continue my formation and finish my theology studies. Returning to school after three years of pastoral work was not easy, but after a few months, I readjusted to the life of a student. This year, 2019, is an important year for me as I will complete my theology program and have to prepare my thesis. I will prepare for perpetual vows and my ordination to the diaconate. I also look forward to my ordination to the priesthood next year.
As time passes so very quickly, I am so thankful to God and to our Society for helping me on my journey to become a Divine Word Missionary. Please pray with me that the Holy Spirit will inspire and strengthen me and all of us in formation so that our mission may be successful.