Roberto Carlos Alvarado, ordained a priest in Union City
The Augustinian Recollect Roberto Carlos Alvarado (Tejutla, Chalatenango, El Salvador, 1986) received the order of priesthood last Saturday, May 13, at the hands of the Augustinian Recollect Bishop Francisco Javier Acero, Auxiliary of Mexico, in the Parish of Saint Augustine in Union City (New Jersey, United States).
Roberto Carlos had arrived in the United States on April 18 from Brazil, where he currently carries out his ministerial task, in the Parish of Saint Augustine de Pauiní (Amazonas, Brazil), within the Prelature of Labrea. Although of Salvadoran origin, Roberto Carlos's family is based in Elizabeth (New Jersey).
In the community of the Augustinian Recollects of Union City, less than 30 kilometers away, he began his vocational process training and also from this community has carried out the preparations for this ceremony, which it implies the completion of his initial formation stage as an Augustinian Recollect priest.
The contemplative Augustinian Recollects of Belvidere (New Jersey) welcomed Roberto Carlos during his spiritual exercises prior to ordination. And on Friday, May 12, they held all prior preparations and procedures, including the profession of faith, in the presence of the vicar of the Augustinian Recollects in the United States, Marlon Beof, and the delegate of the Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine in Brazil, Juan Cruz Vicario.
The following day, Saturday May 13, at noon, began in the Parish of Sainy Augustine the priestly ordination ceremony, presided over by the Augustinian Recollect Bishop Francisco Javier Acero, Auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Mexico. In a specially reserved place, the family of Roberto Carlos was a direct witness of this important moment in his life.
During the ceremony, which lasted two hours, the bishop remembered both the family of the new priest as well as his formators, and the People of God whom he now accompanies in Brazil. "Let yourself be accompanied b Jesus," he told her. He also reminded her that "loving" will be her fundamental task, in the same way that God loves you. “Put yourself in his hands and let yourself be surprised by him. (…) God protects you”.
He also reminded him that no one is a priest "for himself", and encouraged him to give himself and "share the God's mercy on the people." He reminded Roberto Carlos of the "non-negotiable" things for an Augustinian Recollect priest: personal and community prayer, community life, collaboration with the pastors and other ministers, continually offer the Augustinian Recollect charism to the Church.
The bishop recalled Augustinian passages on the priesthood, service to others, friendship with Christ, the need to work "together" for the Gospel, or to avoid rigidity and division to promote tenderness, meekness, mercy; offered the new priest to wear out his life for others and especially for the most vulnerable: the sick, those in need of listening, of a look, a hug.
Roberto Carlos addressed everyone at the time of Thanksgiving, which began by remembering Saint Paul in his letter to the Corinthians: "My grace is sufficient for you, strength is realized in weakness." A phrase that he has set high in his life program. He thanked so many people and so many stories that reflect God's grace in your life: “Thank you for your presence, thank you for your support, thank you for believing here how wonderful God is and does in our lives.”
"Today is not the end, it is just the beginning of a very difficult task," he said, recalling the words of Saint Augustine on the priests, who carry a heavier load. "With great affection I want to ask you to just as they have accompanied me throughout these almost ten years [of vocational discernment and formation], continue praying for me now, praying for vocations”.
Roberto Carlos recalled that although the Catholic Church has a bad press today, he wanted to accept this gift and commitment of the priesthood: "I have not said yes because I am holy, but simply because I have allowed myself to be watched by the mercy of God, who has placed by my side people who have helped me accompanied and many others who have been supporting me with their prayers and their love”.
"May I be an instrument of God for you and for all those I meet in the path"; and concluded by reciting with Saint Augustine: "All my hope is in your great mercy: give what that you send and send what you want”.
The next day, the Parish of Saint Anthony of Padua in neighboring Elizabeth welcomed Roberto Carlos, his family and a good number of members of the Augustinian Recollect Family to celebrate the first Eucharist presided over by the new priest in the parish community where his family resides and where began his desire to commit himself to the Church in a much more intense way in life Augustinian Recollect community.