From the Seminar: Men of Faith

by seminarian Rafael Cruz Dévora

At the end of the past year, two of the brothers of Theology IV, after the necessary formative journey for sacred orders, were consecrated priests of the Church for the laying on of hands and prayer of their respective bishops: in the diocese of Pinar del Río, Yosvel Rodríguez Ordaz and in the S.I. Cathedral of Matanzas, Orlando Cepero Rodríguez. Below we present the vocational journey followed by these two young priests, from the first call, to the desired and dreamed sacrament of the sacred order.
The charismatic father Yosvel was born in the city of Artemis on August 5, 1990. From a young child his family entered him on the paths of faith. After finishing pre-university studies, after a process of spiritual accompaniment and discernment, he began at the San Carlos and San Ambrosio Seminary in Havana. The testimony of several priests he met during those years confirmed his call and prompted him to follow Christ’s priestly follow-up.
Always smiling and willing to provide his abundant artistic qualities, he made us all smile with his jokes, while delighting visitors with his voice as a radio announcer. Many remember him for the musical animations and cordial welcomes with which the day of the Seminary usually begins. For him, St. Charles has been a family, an enabling space to share with God and with his brothers and sisters and a true path of deepening the mystery of Christ. He is currently serving in the Pinareña diocese, happy for his ministry under the priestly motto: “Jesus himself came and walked with them” (Lk 24:15).
The decimist Father Orlandito is a simple and discreet man who was born on June 19, 1985 and met the Christian faith as he approached, as a teenager, the parish church of Jovellanos. Accompanied by his priest he began a vocational process that would lead him, after his university career, to begin in the training offered by the Seminary.
His poems adorned for several years celebratory days, his bibliotecological knowledge offered them to this important space. He is remembered as a faithful custodian of the gardens, showing his degree in Agronomoma Engineering. With special talent for papyroflexia he decorated the Christmas nights of the dining room and shone dozens of paper stars on the manger. For him, Saint Charles is the Nazareth of his history, the place of silence and gathering, a climate conducive to missionary preparation to which he now, as a priest, Christ presents him. Today he accompanies pastorally in his diocese of Matanzas, trusting in the grace of the Lord and under the motto: “He chose me from the bosom of my mother and called me by his grace” (Gal 1:15).
Priests Yosvel and Orlando have not completed the path of Christian vocation, which reaches its fullness in Heaven, but have closed the cycle of formation for priestly ordination as se-minarists. To attain holiness they strive to persevere “firm in faith” (Heb 4.14), “with their eyes fixed on Jesus” (Heb 12.2) to sow mercy and hope in this water-thirsty Cuban land that leaps into eternal life (Cf. Jn 4:14).
The testimony of each of them encourages each seminarian to remain on the path of formation, eager for configuration with Christ, high and eternal priest. The diversity of his charisms shows us how the Lord is pleased with what we can offer him and encourages us to grow always in community and grace. His sorrows and difficult moments in the Seminary show us how tares often grow next to wheat, but the reaper knows how to separate those he has chosen for himself (Cf. Mt 13.30) and brings everything to his good (Cf. Rom 8.28) in order to teach us as Christ, his beloved Son, to obey from suffering.
From the Seminary the prayer for them rises, entrusting them to the care and protection of the ever Virgin and Mother Mary of Charity. In order for them to be saints and good shepherds as the Church needs in these times and as for more than thirty years now the Cuban National Ecclesial Meeting (ENEC) has asked that they be priests: “men moved by evangelical counsels and of deep inner life; missionary and creative priests; close to the bishop, the presbytery and the Christian people; sowers of hope, dialogue, discreet and simple.”1 Ω

1 Cf. Cuban National Ecclesial Meeting. Final document and pastoral instruction of the Bishops of Cuba, Mexico City, 2005, p. 234.

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