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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Come and Stay with Me
Father Lino Otero LC was born in Managua, Nicaragua in 1966. Due to the political unrest of his home country his family migrated to the United States in 1981. He was ordained a priest on December 22, 2001 at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

P.Lino Otero, LC. y Omar (ECYD en Dallas)
Father Lino Otero, LC, helping youth grow closer to Christ.
As a child I never thought of becoming a priest. I used to play by myself designing cars and houses with my Lego toys. The way machines worked fascinated me. I thought I would become an architect or an engineer. My ideal was to have a small, middle class family. Inside, however, a great void consumed my heart. Insecurity and timidity held me captive. I was only a dreamer.

Before the political unrest in Nicaragua, my family migrated to the United States in 1981. Right from the beginning I knew there were sacrifices to be made. I would have to study hard in order to go to college, but in a couple of years I was on my school´s honor roll. I also joined the parochial youth group, a place where I found good friends. In spite of this, my soul still remained unfulfilled and restless.

After Christmas 1983 the boys from my youth group organized a retreat at a Cistercian monastery. Cold and tired, we got there after a long journey. The surroundings were different from anything I had experienced before. The atmosphere was full of silence and recollection. I was enchanted by the beauty of the Gregorian Chant sung at dawn and by the splendor of the starry nights over the wheat fields. Time seemed to have stopped at that place. On Wednesday evening, as I walked upstairs to my room, an intense light shone in my mind, an arrow of love struck my heart. In an instant I perceived the greatness of God´s love. He was calling me: "Be with me". All my past life seemed like a closed book. A new book was opening before me. Perplexed, I stopped at the very step where I had received that light. I pondered this for the remainder of the retreat.

I knew I had a treasure in my heart and yet the message was not very clear. Did that mean I would have to become a priest? The idea was now very appealing: To spend my whole life for God! After thinking much for the next two months I spoke about it at home. It was a bomb. They were shaken: "You are only seventeen years old. You are too young to know what the priesthood is".

I was very naïve. True. I began to read books about the priesthood. I took anything I could find on my own: books from the public library. Most of them were scandalous. Yet I did not give up. God´s love was stronger. However, I did grant my parents a compromise. I would please them by getting an academic degree from college before entering seminary.

After struggling hard to get an Associate in Science degree in a year I entered the diocesan seminary. The college experience had put my faith to the test. I had many doctrinal and moral doubts. Even though I was open to the teachings of the Church, the contrary arguments seemed so reasonable to me. At times, the teachings of the Church seemed so distant from people´s real lives. Yet it was in the seminary where I had my intellectual conversion. The thought of St. Thomas Aquinas captivated my mind and my heart. The teachings of this doctor of the Church with the deepest fibers of my moral sensibility. All uncertainty left me. I resolved to study hard. I examined the most acute philosophical problems. I spent long hours in the library doing research. At times I would debate my own classmates. The more I delved into these problems the more I loved the teachings of the Church. I was also scandalized at the vices I eventually discovered in some of those who opposed the teachings of the Church.

Almost at the same time I was going through a spiritual conversion. An elderly and holy priest introduced me to the spiritual tradition of the Church. I was amazed at the role of abnegation and the demands of the cross in the path to holiness. With these thoughts in mind I found a classical book on the spiritual life which would help me ponder and reflect about the meaning of that call in that monastery. The idea of professing vows of poverty,chastity and obedience captivated my heart.

Deep down I knew God was calling me to a radical consecration of my life for him. At the beginning I had set down some conditions to follow God. First I had postponed my entry to the seminary, later I had discarded religious life.

I spoke with that holy priest sharing my outlook. He advised me to follow the religious life and directed me towards the Legion of Christ. I wrote Father Anthony Bannon, LC, and he invited me to speak with him. Coming into contact with the community of novices in Cheshire, Connecticut, was like a glimpse of heaven. There reigned harmony, charity and unity. After studying my case Father Bannon sent me to teach at a Legionary school in Wisconsin before I entered the novitiate in 1990.

Father Lino Otero LC was born in Managua, Nicaragua in 1966. Due to the political unrest of his home country his family migrated to the United States in 1981. After high school he earned an Associate in Science Degree in Business Administration in Miami, Florida. He joined the Legion of Christ in 1990 in Cheshire, Connecticut. During the last few years he received his Masters in Philosophy and his Bachelors Degree in Theology at the Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome. He has worked as administrator of Everest Academy in Michigan and as a pastoral associate in the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Rome. He was ordained a priest on December 22, 2001 at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome and currently serves at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Sacramento, CA.


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