I am Father Juan Sandoval. I was ordained as a priest in the Holy Catholic Church on May 20th 2017 for the Diocese of San Bernardino in California. I was assigned as parochial vicar at St. Peter and St. Paul Catholic Church in Altaloma.
When I was traveling to my home town (San Cristobal, western Venezuela) from the USA to celebrate my first Mass of Thanksgiving, I received a phone call that my uncle Laureano died due to cirrhosis. I was experiencing mixed feelings: happiness because I was ordained as a priest and sadness for the lost of one of my beloved uncles.
During my trip I was traveling with my mom Catalina and my cousin Johan (son of my uncle who pass away). My cousin was devastated and I was just trying to see beyond this event. It is possible that something can ruin the most important moment of your life? I was ready to celebrate with my relatives my ordination but first I had to celebrate the funeral of my uncle. What a contradiction.
In addition to this distressful moment, I lost a back pack in a taxi cab with thousands of files with pictures, documents and videos that I gathered for years to share with my immediate family members. I lost my uncle and I lost my back pack. I felt overwhelmed. I started asking God many questions. What is the reason this happened to me? What is the meaning of this events in an important moment of my life? what is the lesson I have to learn?
The Lord did not answer my prayers immediately, but He helped me to reconfigure my goals and my identity. As a seminarian my goal was to become a priest. I wrote good papers for academic purposes, I had a great spiritual director, I served in ministry; everything was structured. Now that I am priest I did not want to write anymore. I had enough reading and writing by being in the seminary fourteen years. I wanted to take a long break “out of the structure”, but obviously the Lord did not want that for me. I started writing in my virtual block of notes as Catharsis . I was experiencing an spiritual moment in which the Lord wanted me to let go (my personal attachments) and let God shape my identity. My new identity was united definitely with Christ through my ordination. For some reason I was ignoring my own transition, I learned that I have to focus on my new identity and share my feelings with my flock.
I accepted the challenge and I started documenting my personal encounters with God. At the beginning, this experiences were leading me to write a book but in the end, after much consideration, it became to fruition as a blog; the same one you are reading now. This blog is an opportunity to know more about a priest and his journey. I am glad to let you know how the son of a humble family came to be a priest from a border town between Venezuela and Colombia to be a border-less person. Open the bag pack of my life and discover how the Lord has work in me to become a better person. You will be surprised what it is inside in the back pack of my life: awesome things and some “rotten tomatoes”. So, please open the zipper of this back pack and start getting a glimpse of the marvelous deeds the Lord has done for me. Also, I want to share in this blog some of my past projects like a music production with a Christian Band (in Spanish) pictures and videos. You can access those by clicking in the follow us icons in the bottom of the webpage.
May God bless our journey!