I met Ysrael in 2006 upon my arrival at Mount Angel Seminary. Ysrael has always been kind to me and has taught me to have a heart of compassion. The moments I have treasured with him are those nights when he and I walked around the seminary while he took his smoking break. Those were moments when we checked in with each other and shared special insights which I still remember today.
Last year, I was with him on the night before his Diaconate Ordination. We sat at the bench right outside of Starbucks and I remember the glow he had on his face, the joy that radiated as he was at the threshold of his Diaconate.
A few nights ago, I sat at the steps of Ate Pia’s backyard and I saw the same joy, the same excitement he had the year before.
Now, he is not only a friend, but priest. He is a priest now for the Archdiocese of Portland.
What did we share with each other the night before his Priestly Ordination? Everything is grace. Ordination and the journey to the priesthood is a journey of entering more deeply into a loving relationship with God and His people. He once said that God calls us in spite of who we are. After his final confession before his ordination, he told me, “No. God calls us because of who we are.” Amen. We laughed with the assurance that one day we will gather again…. the night before my ordination…..relishing God’s goodness through the years.
Thank you, Father Ysrael, for inspiring my vocation. Thank you for your friendship, for it has been my courage and joy to move forward into the study of Theology and enter more deeply into a loving relationship with the Beloved.