|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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.