I am Fr. Ricardo González Delgadillo SVD and I am currently working as a pastor's associate at Our Lady of Lourdes parish in east Los Angeles.
Originating from Jalostotitlán, Jalisco, Mexico, I started my philosophy studies in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, where I worked with children with disabilities and neurological problems. During my two-year novitiate in Oaxaca, Mexico, I worked with indigenous groups, including single mothers and people suffering from terminal illnesses. I started my theological studies in Mexico City where I worked with people marginalized by society, including those with terminal illnesses, alcoholics, drug addicts and the elderly. I completed theology in 2015 in Córdoba, Argentina.
I was ordained a priest of the Society of the Divine Word on July 2, 2016 in my hometown parish, Our Lady of the Assumption, by the bishop of San Juan de los Lagos, Monsignor Jorge Alberto Cavazos Arizpe.
I was assigned by my superiors to continue my missionary work in Argentina where I was responsible for the Hogar (“home”) for adolescents - Mother Teresa of Calcutta, located in Quilmes, Argentina.
The Hogar Madre Teresa is a home for adolescents who have been abandoned or displaced from their natural families for various reasons such as abuse, drug issues, prostitution or other family issues. In addition to the basic necessities of food, shelter and medical attention, the Hogar Madre Teresa, provided support to the youth in the areas of education, social integration, and psychological health.
After 8 years of serving there, my superiors asked me to come to the United States of America.
On December 22, 2020, I entered the U.S. following the will of God and hoping that I could give a good service to all his people.
In November 2021, I was appointed part-time coordinator of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation for the Western Province of the Society of the Divine Word. Given the social and geopolitical circumstances, it was a surprise to me.
However, we know that the Gospel that we read every day in our Eucharistic celebration helps us to rethink our missionary way of life and helps us in our SVD spirituality. Because one thing is certain, the most useful and up-to-date resources that we SVDs can utilize is the Gospel. Not only so that we become more and more religious, but so that we become more and more human in the style of the Lord Jesus.
So together with people of good will and the coordinators of the three U.S. Provinces of the Divine Word Missionaries and Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters (SSpS), we adapted to the current situation. We started by organizing awareness talks. People who work with a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) called VIVAT International, which was founded by the SVD and SSpS, emailed Divine Word Missionaries to share what they have witnessed during their experiences. They described the real situation that exists for migrant and refugee communities.
Since becoming a JPIC coordinator, I’ve maintained a strong and fruitful connection with our brothers and sisters who work in the mission field, beyond the informative writings and online dialogues. My commitment is to carry out projects that directly support our mission field and cultivate collaboration.
A priority has been to meet the basic needs of children and adolescents in situations of great emotional and social vulnerability. I have had the honor of collaborating with institutions that protect refugee children in the Bay Area of the United States, collecting winter clothing and food.
In addition, I have collaborated in the acquisition of a much-needed transportation vehicle for the Hogar Madre Teresa de Calcutta in Argentina.
We have had the honor of systematically helping with food packages containing rice, fish, noodles and milk that are intended mainly for the children who live in the garbage dumps in the city of Cebu in the Philippines. We know that the future of these children will depend on their education. That’s why we’ve collaborated with other organizations to secure some scholarships for needy children. In the same dump, we were able to help with a playground at one of the housing projects managed by the SVDs.
The Betania-Santa Martha house is a shelter that offers a resting space for migrants who are passing through the community of Salto de Agua Chiapas, Mexico. It is managed by the SSpS Sisters and Divine Word Missionaries. The migrants who pass through the shelter have a variety of needs. Many are from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Venezuela among others. They come walking across the southern border until they reach their destination. Currently, we are collaborating to provide a photovoltaic solar plant that will produce power to reduce electricity bills and improve their finances.
As a JPIC coordinator, it seems vital to me that Divine Word Missionaries dedicate more time to the JPIC dimension, since injustices seem to be stronger every day, and less and less heard. If we lack empathy with the poor, discarded, refugees, migrants and marginalized of our world: we lack freedom.
The gospel invites us to be supportive and to protect the poor and vulnerable. We have a moral responsibility to care for creation and always seek the common good to help create social conditions that allow believers and non-believers to reach the fullness of their human potential as we are all part of the one human family.
I thank the Divine Word for giving me the opportunity to share and discover the Divine in humans and to find God in our neediest brothers and sisters.