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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Paul Ponce, Juggler for God
When giving a year as a coworker, I learned where happiness is found: in seeking God and doing good to others.

Paul Ponce saludando al Papa Benedicto XVI, en la Jornada Mundial de Colonia, 2005.

Germany, August 29, 2005.  Paul Ponce, considered one of the three best jugglers in the world, performed during the vigil held with Pope Benedict XVI and hundreds of thousands of youth during the recent World Youth Day.

With incredible skill, he juggles hats, ping pong balls, seven bowling pins…  But he says of this occasion that it was “one of the most important moments of my entire professional career, because of how important living my Catholic faith is for me.”

This young juggler, originally from Argentina, was born into a family that has a six-generation history as performers.  He has performed all over the world, especially in the United States, Europe and Asia.

The possibility of performing for the Pope and the young people came up last winter, when he put on a show in Cologne.  He also took advantage of that trip to perform for the elderly, the hospitalized, young people, etc.  Ponce, who never in his life has lived for more than ten months in the same city, inherited the faith from his family, but his trips throughout the world kept him from keeping up a continuous formation.

What he calls his “conversion” took place when he was 21 years old, while performing in a show at the casino in Nassau, Bahamas “which was the only place where I every spent 10 consecutive months in a single place.”  When he went to Mass, he asked to receive the sacrament of Confirmation, but the pastor asked him to take a course of catechesis with young people from 14-15 years of age.

“That was where it all began,” he remembers.  “I began to ask myself very serious questions that I had never before asked myself: Why was I Catholic?  What did God and the Church mean for me? […]  One part of this process of conversion that I will never forget was going alone to the Church to pray and to fix my eyes on the Crucifix.  Looking at it, I would ask myself: ‘Why so much pain and suffering?’ […] There, I began to see that God had flooded my entire life with graces and gifts, and that I was very far from fulfilling
Paul Ponce saludando al Papa Benedicto XVI, durante la Jornada Mundial de la Juventud, en Colonia.
my duty toward God as a Baptized Christian. […] The incredible thing was that the more I tried to understand and to learn how to do good to God and others, the more happiness and fulfillment I experienced. […] All of this culminated when I decided to stop working in the artistic world for an entire year so I could give a year to the Church as a coworker (a lay missionary).  I told myself that God had done so much for me, and I wanted to try to do something for him. […] At the end of the year, I realized that that year had been the happiest year of my life, because during that year I learned where happiness is found: in seeking God, and in doing good to others. […]  Now, I work in the artistic world with a new ideal: to see how I can be an instrument of God for my companions, not on account of what I can do for them, which would be useless, but rather on account of what God, always making use of unworthy instruments, can do for them.”

Paul Ponce and his wife Lía were able to greet the Holy Father after his World Youth Day performance and said, “Holy Father, we ask for your blessing.  We got married three months ago.  We pray for you everyday after Mass.  We are Regnum Christi members.”

Among his several apostolates, Paul offers economic aid to Catholic schools in Latin America that offer education to children from poor families.  During World Youth Day in Cologne, he sold t-shirts bearing evangelizing messages to raise money for this cause.  To find out more about these t-shirts, select the following link.



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