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Turn to Jesus (Article)

“Look, I Know It’s Something Good”
Father Bonifacio Cuesta Alcalde, LC (Spain)

P. Bonifacio Cuesta Alcalde , L.C.
Fr. Bonifacio Cuesta Alcalde , LC

My vocation is no apocalypse or mystery. No one appeared to me, and I never saw any signs indicating that I should be a priest. I was born on August 10, 1978 in Burgos, Spain. I have two older sisters and a younger brother. My father already died—May God hold him in glory!—and I believe he takes care of my family from above. My mother? She is the first one I want to thank, since without her and all her silent support, I don’t know how we four would have ended up… Thanks, Mom!

I studied in a Catholic school, where we frequently saw Jesuit priests. I remember well the First Friday Masses and the many opportunities to go to confession. We had Mass in the church of La Merced, which the priests directed. It was there that I made my First Communion.

He showed us little films about the lives of the saints

From school I remember mostly Father Hernando, a very holy Jesuit priest. He gave us religion class. I remember he showed us little films about the lives of the saints, he had a great love for the Virgin Mary, and when we were with him we always prayed the Angelus. He used to tell us often, “Whoever loves Mary will be saved,” and, “Death before sin.” I greatly admired Father Hernando, but the idea of being a priest did not rouse any interest in me at all.

It was through Father Hernando that I met the Legionaries of Christ. One day he told us that a priest—Father Alejandro Gómez, a Legionary—had invited us to play a game of soccer. Blessed soccer! I would give anything to play soccer. That Saturday, I was there to play. I remember that at the end he mentioned we could play against the seminarians where he worked. He meant the apostolic school in Ontaneda, Santander. I signed up. That is how I began to go to the apostolic school: to play soccer.

I had never thought about the possibility of being a priest, and the times I went to Ontaneda I still wasn’t facing it. I can count about seven weekends during the year that I went. They were a lot of fun. I wanted to attend the summer program of vocational discernment, and when I asked my dad if he would give me permission to stay there, he replied: “Look, I know it’s something good and you will benefit from it. Go ahead.” I will never forget my dad’s face with teary eyes while he said that. It was August 15, 1989.

You walk and the asphalt crumbles

I was in Ontaneda for three years. They were years of learning, human and spiritual maturing, and getting to know the charism of the Legion and Regnum Christi. I also had fun in a good way. In the summer of 1992 I was transferred to the apostolic school in Moncada (Valencia). The move was hard for me because Ontaneda was all green, surrounded by mountains, with a
P. Bonifacio Cuesta Alcalde , L.C.
magnificent river and water in abundance, whereas Moncada in August was terrible: sweat and more sweat, completely dry, humid heat that sticks to you, you walk and the asphalt crumbles… Weather can be something of peripheral importance, but I believe it was an experience that helped me form my will and learn how to get over difficulties.

When I finished my studies in Moncada, I decided to enter the novitiate in Salamanca. I had the grace of being with Father Rafael Arumí—may he rest in peace—who was at that time the novice instructor. He helped me a great deal in my relationship with God. We often spoke about prayer. Sometimes I thought that prayer wasn’t for me but only for holy and pious souls, but at the same time I felt within me the Lord’s invitation to do my part, and Father Arumí knew how to be patient with me. In the following years the practical and realistic hand of Father Antonio León and later of Father Jesús María Delgado helped me a lot.

I loved being close to the Pope

In Rome I studied philosophy. I loved being close to the Pope, the cardinals, and the bishops. I liked it when they came to celebrate Mass or give a talk, and I liked to go to different events with the Pope. I really learned to love the Church.

Afterwards I went to Mexico to help out as a dean of discipline of the middle school of CEYCA, and later as a teacher of Catholic formation for the boys in middle school and high school. Each week I gave 24 hours of classes, and I corrected 500 tests every month. In Mexico I had the grace to share meals with our founder. He always had time to listen to us. At one lunch, thanks to a conversation with him, I understood the important role of informing people’s consciences, especially in my case with the boys in the classes I taught. In those years I also understood that each person is different and has his or her moments. You have to know how to interpret what the boys wanted to tell you, why they made certain comments, and later see how to help them in their concrete situation. I don’t think I always achieved the objective, but thanks to God with some I did, and I am still in contact with them to help them. Years later I returned to Mexico for a year to lend a hand with the youth groups in San Luis Potosí.

My last period before ordination took place in Rome. I saw that the priesthood was constantly approaching and that I had to form myself better, that I had to put the pedal to the metal. What you are going to live in the future cannot be improvised.

Thanks, Lord

I have two aunts that are cloistered nuns of the Order of St. Clare, in Vivar del Cid. When I was little I used to visit them with my family. I have a lot to thank them for because from the time I entered the apostolic school, they have prayed for me and have always been devoted to my vocation. I think God heard the prayer of my aunts and of their whole community for the good of my vocation. How much good the cloistered nuns do for the whole world!

It has been 19 years since I left home to go to the apostolic school… I want to end this story by giving thanks to God and inviting whoever reads this not to be afraid of God. Sometimes it seems like the Lord asks us for things that are out of our reach, but I believe you just have to look at him nailed to the cross and judge whether he did a lot or a little out of love for us… Let us try to follow his example of love for our neighbors! God bless you!

Father Bonifacio Cuesta was born in Burgos on August 10, 1978. He attended the Circle Catholic Elementary School in Burgos. In 1989 he entered the apostolic school of the Legion of Christ in Ontaneda, Cantabria (Spain). From there he went to the congregation’s apostolic school in Moncada, Valencia (Spain). He did his novitiate and humanities studies in Salamanca (Spain). He has a licentiate in philosophy from the Pontifical Atheneum Regina Apostolorum in Rome. He was a formation instructor and religion teacher in the CEYCA school in Mexico City. He has collaborated in clubs and youth groups in San Luis Potosí (Mexico). He is currently studying for a licentiate in theology in Rome.

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



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