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.
|Father Lino Otero, LC, helping youth grow closer to Christ.|
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
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".
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
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.
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
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.