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Serve God and You’ll Re-evangelize Chile
Vocational Testimony of Fr. Rodrigo Serrano, LC

Testimonio vocacional del P. Rodrigo Serrano L.C.
Fr. Rodrigo Serrano L.C.
I was born on March 25, 1973 in Minneapolis, in the United States. My parents, Alfonso and Constanza, were living abroad because of my dad’s postgraduate studies in economics. I am the third of seven siblings. Before me are Constanza and Martín; and after me are Ignacio, Carolina, Magdalena, and Mariana. When I was about one and a half year old, our family returned to Chile, where I lived until I entered the Legion, which is why I consider myself “more Chilean than los porotos (Chilean fried beans)”. I studied at the Divine Word School, and went on to attend the School of Law of the Catholic Pontifical University.

My first vocational restlessness appeared when I was about 10 years old and an aunt looked at the palm of my hand and told me half-jokingly, “You don’t have the marriage line, so you’ll most likely be a priest…”

A Pact with God
God’s ways! From that one comment, I started out on a long path of battle, a tug-of-war with God as I struggled to accept his will for me. I had always felt a sense of restlessness about knowing what God wanted for me, and I had one thing clear: I had to do his will. It seemed to me that the worst thing that could happen to a person was to leave this world without having accomplished what God had created him to do. After high school, the vocational question was pretty strong, but I didn’t know who to go to and I felt very young to be making a decision like that. I remember asking a priest, but he told me that if was from God then it would continue being present in my life. With this idea, I proposed a kind of pact with God: “First
Testimonio vocacional del P. Rodrigo Serrano L.C.
let me go to college, get a job and a “polola” (a girlfriend in good Chilean slang), etc. In short, God please let me live my life and then if you still want me to be a priest, tell me.”

Said and done. I started studying law, and by my sophomore year I already had a girlfriend. By my senior year, I had a good job assured. At that time, I also got to know the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement through a friend who invited me and introduced me to Father John O’Reilly, LC. In this way, I started to participate in various Regnum Christi activities in June of 1992, and I finally got incorporated in October of 1993 in a Mass with Father Eloy Bedia, in the youth center. In those years, my restlessness about the vocation came back full force, and this time it was something that caused me some anguish and wouldn’t leave me in peace. Father John helped me a lot with his advice.

Put Yourself in God’s Service…
The decisive year was 1995. During the whole previous year, I worked with my uncle in his law firm. He gave me some passes to go study English in the United States, so I was there from January to March. In an atmosphere of solitude, far from my daily routine, I was able to reflect a lot about what I wanted to do with my life. I was also in contact with the Legionaries and Regnum Christi members in Washington, DC. On March 19, the feast of Saint Joseph, our founder Nuestro Padre visited the city and gave a talk at the retreat center, Our Lady of Bethesda. After talking to us about the situation of the Church, he opened up the floor for questions. I don’t remember what mine was, but since I had a tape-recorder with me, I asked if he could send a greeting to the members of the section… And I remember perfectly that at the end of his answer he told me: “You put yourself in God’s service and you will reevangelize Chile.”

That was enough for the grace of God to enter my heart. Two weeks later, the day I came back to Chile, I went to Mass in the morning and, at the end, stayed in the Blessed Sacrament chapel praying the rosary. I don’t remember lights, voices, or any special signs. All I remember is that in a spirit of great peace and serenity, I told the Virgin Mary: “If you ask me to, I will be a priest.”

God Provides
Back in Chile, everything worked out so that in December of that year I was able to enter the candidacy. My three-and-a-half-year relationship with my girlfriend ended without any fights or hard feelings; there were some changes in my university’s curriculum that allowed me to leave that year, leaving my thesis done and only my exam pending. I was able to leave my job without major difficulties. And, almost as a crowning grace, I was able to participate in the second formators convention that was held in Rome during the entire month of July of that year. Being able to live with the community of priests and brothers in Rome helped me very much to confirm my decision. And so, December 26 of 1995 arrived, and at around 6 in the afternoon, my parents dropped me off at the novitiate that was in Puente Alto (the center there is now the apostolic school).

Now, almost 12 years have gone by. I was in Chile until June of 1997, and from there I went to Brazil to finish my novitiate. I made my profession on March 8, 1998 in the cathedral of Porto Alegre, and in April of that year I traveled to Cheshire in the United States to start my studies in humanities. In August of 1999, the moment arrived to go to Rome to start studying philosophy. On March 12, 2000, I had the grace of serving as an acolyte at a Mass with Pope John Paul II. That same month, I became part of the community of the General Directorate of the Legion. In August of 2001, I finished my bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and then went out on my apostolic internship in Brazil, where I was prefect of studies at the novitiate for three years. And then in August of 2004, I returned to Rome to start studying theology.

Looking back at the path behind me, I can only lift up a Magnificat in thanksgiving to God, because in his infinite mercy, our Lord wanted to choose me as one of his sons of predilection. He looked at me with a gaze full of goodness and has destined me to resemble his Son in a particularly special way. “What is man that you should be mindful of him, the Son of Adam that you should care for him? Yet, you made him a little less than a god, crowning him with glory and splendor; you made him lord over the works of your hands, and set all things under his feet. Yahweh, our Lord, how great your name throughout the earth!” (Psalm 8:5-7, 10).

Father Rodrigo Serrano was born on March 25, 1973 in Minneapolis, United States. One year later, his family moved to Chile. He entered the Legion of Christ on December 26, 1995 in Santiago de Chile. He did his humanities studies in Cheshire, United States, and earned his licentiate in philosophy and bachelor’s in theology at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum in Rome. He worked as a teacher and academic guide in the novitiate of São Paulo, Brazil and is currently working toward his licentiate in theology.



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