|Fr. José Ignacio Rodríguez Daruich , LC|
I watched her with big eyes and her words
resounded in my mind: “If someone dies in mortal sin,
he cannot go to heaven.” Troubled, I thought: “But if
you are murdered and you did not want to die…
It’s not fair!! It’s not fair that because of someone
else’s fault you cannot go to heaven. Besides, God cannot
be so unjust.”
My uncle had died murdered
before, my beloved uncle had died, murdered. I could not
stop thinking about him. Almost involuntarily I raised my hand.
Mother Marú, who taught us the Catechism class in preparation
for the First Communion, listened carefully to my question and
answered, “Throughout your life, God gives you opportunities to come
closer to him; so that when the moment of death
comes you are in the state of grace and can
go to heaven.”
“But, if you did not want to die,
and you get killed?” – I needed to be sure
that my uncle had gone to heaven.
“Normally, nobody wants to
die,” she went ahead, “that is why we have to
be ready for it when the moment comes; and a
way to be ready is to go frequently to confession.”
I charged again, “what if you could not go to
confession because you could not find a priest?”
“That is why
it is necessary that there be more priests.”
(Boom) That fell
like a torpedo that would “explode” years later. After some
weeks, on May 26th, 1986, I received Christ into my
heart for the very first time. From that moment on,
and with the help of my parents, I began to
cultivate a true and intimate friendship with Christ.
Elementary school continued.
In general, I was not doing badly in my studies.
I wasn’t a straight A student, but I had a
lot of trust in the memory God had given me.
A few reviews were enough to quickly memorize the questionnaires,
tell the answers to my mom and go out to
play soccer or volleyball with my friends. Besides, there was
always something more interesting than studies.
On Saturdays I had an
appointment which I would rarely miss, not even when Mexico
played in the semifinals against Germany in the 1986 world
cup. With Group 9 of Scouts in Puebla, I lived
unforgettable moments: national camps, countryside and city rallies, local camps,
and works of mercy, such as visits to orphages.
vacations, we would go to the ranch to ride horses,
chase sheep, get wet in the water springs, shoot sling-shots
or rifle shots, eat roasted corn with the workers, get
up at 5:15 in the mornings, and accompany the cowboys
to learn to milk the cows, with our bare hands,
not with a machine.
The dreaded gang of my cousins
summer of 1988 arrived. The dreaded gang of cousins would
meet in the Mexico City. We had a lot of
fun together: baseball, hours of bike riding, entire mornings riding
toboggans, videogames, movies, table games…
All of a sudden, we got
a call from my house. My uncle, my father’s older
brother, was celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary and his son,
a Legionary of Christ, would come from Brazil to visit
us. For me it meant interrupting my vacation to return
home for a family reunion and I did not like
the idea one bit.
After some scoldings, I arrived back
in Puebla. The anniversary Mass for aunt and uncle was
about to begin, but my attire was not the most
adequate. I had to go home to change my clothes.
When we arrived at church, the Mass had already begun.
My cousin read the second reading; seven years had gone
by since I last saw him. It was amazing to
see him up there dressed as a religious. When the
Mass ended I left the church to see my cousins.
We began to play while the adults greeted and congratulated
My mom greeted Father Enrique Vizcaíno, a Legionary of
Christ. This same summer some of my other cousins spent
the summer discerning their vocation to the priesthood. As a
little joke, my mom asked Father Vizcaíno if he thought
of stealing all the cousins in the family. He responded
that not all but the next one he thought of
inviting to get to know the minor seminary was me.
At this very moment I was passing by and my
mom grabbed me by the arm and asked: “Did you
hear what the father said?”
Father Enrique repeated his comment.
making a mistake by inviting me. I am not crazy
like my cousins,” I said.
The priest looked hard at me.
Out of nervousness, I laughed, but the conversation ended there.
Later dinner began, then the time with my cousins, the
party, and the dancing. Everything seemed to be forgotten, but
God had planted the seed. As a matter of fact,
while returning home in the car, all my brothers and
sisters were asleep and my parents were in the front
speaking in a low tone. In this silence, I heard
the voice of God: “What if God was calling me
to be a priest?” I could not accept, and I
felt restless about this possibility. I had many dreams which
I was not ready to give up, many friends that
I did not want to leave, and above all the
dream of who my future girlfriend would be… when would
she come? Who would she be? It was not possible
that God had other plans for me.
Something that never ends
In that moment, my mother, with the intuition that God
grants all moms, said, “I noticed you were a little
“I don’t know,” she said. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing… I think
I’m tired from the trip and vacation.”
“Or did Father Enrique
shake you up a bit?”
“No way! I told the priest
that I’m not crazy.”
With jokes and laughter, the comment, which
I did not like one bit, was forgotten. The following
days I saw my cousin a few times. It was
unavoidable. Each time I saw him, the thought occurred, “Can
I be like him?” Almost automatically the answer came, “No
way!” From this moment on an interior resistance was let
loose. Consciously or unconsciously I perceived that the moments I
was alone and in silence caused uneasiness. I tried to
distract myself with the telephone, music, going out with friends,
sports, scouts, parties, vacations, camps, and trips. But each time
I returned from a party or a trip, I experienced
a strange sensation. The moments that caused the most excitement
ended and afterward left me with a nostalgic feeling, as
if there was an emptiness in my heart.
At the same
time that I enjoyed everything, I felt that I needed
something that would never end. This is what God wanted
to give me with the gift of the vocation. For
this reason God was winning the duel in just a
few months. One Sunday during Mass with the scouts, a
Guadalupan Missionary spoke with us about the missions in Africa
and invited us to join in these missions. I thought
of the adventure of traveling to Africa, and after Mass
I went to speak with him. He told me I
was too little to enter the seminary but I told
him I did not want to go the seminary. I
wanted to go on the missions. He suggested I finish
high school and then I could go on missions. But
God was in a hurry.
I wanted to give God a
A few days later my cousin invited me to
an ECYD club, youth groups that the Legionaries oversee. I
did not know what it was but he assured me
that I would have a good time. I went along.
On one occasion I mentioned to Father Jesús Sánchez my
desire to visit the minor seminary of the Legion of
Christ but that it was difficult to leave my friends
and companions. Father Miguel Romeo, who accompanied Father Jesús, told
me that I would find many more friends. I did
not believe him because for me friends were irreplaceable. Years
later I would realize that God not only gave me
more friends but many good Legionary friends and brothers.
did not enter the seminary until the summer of 1989.
I found an environment of happiness and friendship. Everybody was
disposed to help and at any moment. I experienced a
great peace. It was as if the machine which during
the past few months had been grinding suddenly clicked and
began to work perfectly. But I had gone with the
intention of giving Christ a week of my life to
quiet my conscience.
One night I looked for Father Carlos García
and told him I wanted to return home; I had
fulfilled my promise of staying for a week. The week
had passed and I was going home. We did not
speak long. Father Carlos simply told me, “José Ignacio, I
do not think that you are that stingy with God
to tell him that you did not discover that He
is calling you.” In that moment I caved in. It
was true, I did not want to be generous. I
went to my room, put on my pajamas, and threw
myself on the bed with my hands under my head.
I finished high school in the minor seminary we have
in Mexico City I entered the novitiate and received the
uniform of a Legionary. The two years of novitiate I
did in Ireland and in this period I began to
love Christ more in the Eucharist and waited anxiously for
the day when I could consecrate the Body and Blood
of Christ in the Mass. From there I went to
Salamanca, Spain to study two years of classical humanities. Then
I went to Rome to begin a bachelor’s in Philosophy.
But after only one year I went to Leon, Mexico
to help in the formation of the minor seminarians. They
were young men just as I had been, who received
the call of God at an early age. After four
years I returned to Rome in 2002 and there finished
my bachelor’s and license degree in Philosophy and a bachelor’s
degree in Theology.
This is the story of my vocation;
I have told it from my point of view as
I lived the different circumstances. As time has passed I
have come to better understand why God has called me.
One day my mom told me that at the beginning
of her marriage she had difficulties having babies. She entrusted
her situation to Mary and promised that if God gave
her a son, he would be for her. Mary fulfilled
her promise and took my mother at her word.
have passed since the road to the priesthood began and
they have been full of happiness. Sure, there have been
moments of maturing and difficulties, but Mary, without my realizing
it, has always protected me with her mantle. If God
allowed me to choose again the path I would take
in life, with my eyes closed and without a doubt
I would choose this one. I know that with priestly
ordination I will be more united than ever to Christ
crucified. The two dreams, so united to the seed of
the vocation that God planted, cultivated, and made grow in
my heart will become a reality: the power to confess
in his name and give peace to souls in tribulation
because of sin, and the power to consecrate the bread
and wine so they become the Body and Blood of
Father José Ignacio Rodríguez Daruich was born on February
5, 1977. He is the oldest of three. Juan Carlos
and Margarita are his brother and sister. He entered the
minor seminary in the summer of 1989. He did his
novitiate in Dublin, Ireland. He studied classical humanities in Salamanca,
Spain. His has license in Philosophy and Bachelor’s degree in
Theology from the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College in Rome. He
was a member of the team of superiors in the
minor seminary in Leon, Mexico run by the Legion of
Christ. Presently he works pastorally with youth in Merida, Mexico.