By Father Martin Estrada
Editor’s note: This essay was originally published in the May 24 issue of The Message, as then-Deacon Estrada began his priestly service.
“The ways of the Lord are mysterious, but comforting.”
I am Deacon Martin Estrada, and today I would like to thank God for the call to his service and love. Together with my fellow deacons I will be receiving this great gift of priesthood. It is a gift that has been possible by the prayer and support of many people throughout my life.
I would like to thank, especially, Bishop Siegel and the priests of the Diocese of Evansville for being examples of pastors to follow. I also would like to thank my parents, Socorro and Guadalupe, for having taught me the Catholic faith, and to love and care for others. And to all the people of the different communities of the diocese that I have been assigned — Washington, Jasper and Huntingburg: thank you very much for your guidance, prayers and support. And to all who have supported me — mentioning them would take me several newspapers – so to all of you, thank you very much for everything you have done for me.
After a long walk and discernment, the time has come to receive the blessing of God in a very special way. When I began my discernment a little more than 10 years ago, I had many doubts and fears; however, God has been the one who accompanied me and dispelled any doubts that I had. Now, it will be time to place the gifts that the Lord has given me at the service of God and his Church. It has not been easy, but the journey has been full of blessings from God. So, I hope that all those who feel the call to the consecrated life or to the priesthood are not afraid to follow Christ more closely. He never abandons us or forsakes us on this path. I have witnessed that in my own journey; we just need to trust Him.
Also, I would like to ask for your prayers that the four of us who are going to be ordained may be docile instruments of God’s love. May we be guides in times of doubt and confusion; that we may bring Christ alive to all those who have lost faith or hope; but above all that we may be faithful channels of the love and mercy of Christ, the Supreme and Eternal Priest from whom all good springs.
Finally, I would like to share with you that after receiving this blessing of priesthood, I will have the opportunity to celebrate several blessings with you and my family. I will celebrate with the grace of God my First Solemn Mass in Jasper; my Mass of Thanksgiving in my home town, San Julián in Mexico; and in June, I will be celebrating the Holy Mass in the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Be assured that you will be present in my prayers at the Altar.
God bless you always and do not stop praying for vocations and for priests.