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Turn to Jesus (Article)

The Legionaries Medal
Father Mario Alonso Márquez Escobedo, LC (Mexico)

P. Mario Alonso Márquez Escobedo , L.C.
Fr. Mario Alonso Márquez Escobedo , LC

I can trace the beginning of my vocation back to one afternoon when I arrived home after classes one day. Adolescence was as alive as a wild horse. Being kicked out of school was pretty ordinary. My parents said that I was uncontrollable and I wanted to take on the world. My brother, Sandro, told me that that morning the Legionaries of Christ had given him a medal which he wore around his neck. It had two inscriptions: on one side was the word, “ideal”, and on the other side was the image of the Blessed Mother, Mary. My immediate reaction was to want to be something great.

Since I was little I wanted to be a soldier. It seemed to me to be the best way to spend my days, embracing the ideal of defending my country or a just cause. The Legionary priests grew very close to my family. My brother was an exemplary student at their minor seminary. We call that school the “apostolic school” and it was a very attractive place for me. But I barely showed any interest, since my record at school and at home was disastrous: I didn’t match up to what you might call a “good kid.” And so what happens with this young man?  He didn’t stop his active career of receiving school reports and complaints from the neighbors; so much so that they recommended I attend a military school, something that actually didn’t sound too bad to me. 

Like heaven on earth for a growing boy
May came around, the month in which we celebrate Mary: the other side of my brother’s medal. My mom took me to accompany her to the celebration that they organized at the apostolic school for all the moms on Mother’s Day. I liked that place a lot. I was mesmerized by the respect these boys had for everyone, and how they were full of joy at the same time.  The priests in cassock and the boys that were excited about the priestly ideal struck me. The games they played were demanding, the hikes they did motivated them to conquer the nearby mountains. I saw in these boys how to pray a God that is close to us, without fake piety or girly behavior. Nothing had ever gotten me so excited. I wanted to be like them. Immediately a hurricane of desires came over me: either a comfortable life life fulfilling my personal projects, or a possible invitation to follow Christ in the Legion. The difficulties did not wait to show up. The first was my dad who did not like the idea.

One day after classes, I followed a couple of girls that I saw leaving school. I saw them go into a church and they kneeled and piously prayed. As I waited for them to come out I too knelt in front of an image of Immaculate Mary. Since the girls didn’t come out, I started to pray. I asked Mary to do something
P. Mario Alonso Márquez Escobedo , L.C.
to make my dad change his mind.

When I arrived home my mom said with a smile on her face, “Your dad has given you permission to go to the apostolic school.” I never thought that the Blessed Mother would make herself a part of a vocation so openly. The other side of the medal is still to be achieved…

Marked by the example of others
The apostolic school was incredible. Two moments had a special impact on me. One was when our founder visited. His joy and his way of being made the priestly ideal of being a bridge between God and man contagious. The other was John Paul II. He has a sort of sanctuary in my memory. While I was in Rome I was able to be with the Pope several times in St Peter’s Square. Of these encounters I can only say that I felt very close to God.

I did my pastoral work as a seminarian in Spain and Mexico. I worked in a society of good people but often with people proud of their antichristian secularism. I went through schools where at times the resistance to faith in Christ was palpable. Those who wanted to be Christians had to live a valiant and coherent testimony of their faith. I was inspired by one young doctor who discovered that God was calling him to his service and who left everything to follow him.

I also worked in San Luis Potosí in Mexico. All of a sudden I found myself in a school with 500 students. I hope to have presented the ideal of being Christian youth and entrepreneurs in the sharing of your faith. Mrs. Luz de Lourdes Urquiza de Gómez -rest in peace- although in a broken voice due to her cancer, spoke these words to me one day: “I would love to be healthy so as to work in the ECYD!” Even in the midst of her sickness this woman wanted the young men in ECYD to commit to being friends of Christ and to do something for others.

I have special memories as well of Holy Week missions when many young men shared their missionary ideal in the midst of the neediest of people.

Throughout my Legionary formation I have realized that studies can change your life. I will never be able to thank God nor my Congregation enough. New York and Rome have been the gymnasiums of studies for me on my way to the priesthood. Study, well taken advantage of, can lead a man to search tirelessly for the Truth in his life.

After the death of our founder, a new chapter in the history of our congregation is opened. Now I have the opportunity to live my life totally for Christ together with many brother Legionaries. I hope to make it to heaven fulfilling the priestly ideal and to embrace Mary, our Most Holy Mother.

Father Mario Alonso Márquez was born in Los Angeles, California on the 7th of September of 1976. He studied in the Independence School run by the sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Zacatecas, Mexico. In 1989 he entered the apostolic school of León, Guanajuato, Mexico. He did his novitiate in Salamanca Spain where he also did his humanities studies. He did pastoral work with youth and promoted vocations in the region of Castilla-León in Spain. He later worked as an instructor of formation in the grade school Andes de San Luis Potosí in Mexico. He did his Philosophy studies in New York and his Theology in Rome.


Translation of the vocation story published in the book "Vivir para Cristo"



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