School: St. John Vianney College Seminary
2900 SW 87th Avenue
Miami, FL 33165
My Name is J. Jesús Alonso Ochoa. I grew up in a quiet town called Puruándiro, Michoacán, Mexico. Which is located in the western region of the country. I come from a family that is made up of my parents and five siblings, I being the third of them.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I think one of the things I enjoy doing the most is when I meet and try new dishes. You could say that basically it is eating, but I like to know where the dish comes from, its ingredients and the method of preparation. I like photography, and some graphic design. I frequently read the newspapers. I also enjoy reading and my favorite book is “Homo Viator” by Gabriel Marcel. I like hiking and sometimes running.
What is one of your favorite scriptures?
One of my favorite scriptures is “Be strong and take courage; do not fear or be afraid of them, because the Lord your God goes with you, and He will not leave you or forsake you” (Dt 31, 6). Because God’s love always accompanies us on our way, in our human reality, calling us to overcome the fear of selfishness, and instead, fill it with the fire of hope.
Who is your favorite saint and why?
My favorite saint is Saint John Paul II because his testimony gave hope in the midst of so many social conflicts. I enjoy reading his books, especially because they expose the importance of always keeping in mind the dignity of the person in every action we take on a social or personal level.
In a nutshell, what is your vocation story? How did you feel called to the priesthood?
From adolescence, I began to collaborate in various services in my parish. One afternoon after mass, a priest approached a group of friends and invited us to serve in the pastoral care of my community. From then on, I became involved in various tasks, especially in liturgical groups, catechesis, and youth groups. I really enjoyed performing these services and discovered that, although following Jesus has its own challenges, God gives us many joys when we serve Him.
One of the things that most caught my attention in the pastoral care of my parish was the lives of priests. I watched how the priests of my community passionately served the community, how they accompanied people in happy moments of their lives, for example, when a couple got married or when parents baptized their child. But, I was also impressed to see them in the most difficult moments of many people, for instance, when they cared for a sick person with mercy. I believe that working alongside the priests sparked in me the concern to discover the way in which God was calling me to serve him.
Through the invitation of a friend, a seminarian, I went to live a vocational retreat at the Diocesan Seminary of Morelia, and it was then that I felt most strongly the desire to follow Jesus through the priestly lifestyle. So, I decided to enter the Diocesan Seminary of Morelia where I received philosophical training. Later, through the invitation of a priest friend, I began the discernment process to serve the Archdiocese of Atlanta. I am currently studying at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami, Florida.
What is seminary life like for you?
Life in the seminary has been a gift from God. In reality, everything we do in the seminary helps us to find God, studies, sports, sharing food, conversations and friendships between seminarians. But what I like the most are the moments of community prayer and the celebration of the Eucharist.
What do you look forward to about being a priest?
I hope to be able to share the sacraments that give us the Grace of God; I hope to be able to communicate the Good News that generates hope in the midst of so many uncertainties. I hope to be able to walk together with the young people to live the joy that Jesus gives us. I hope to walk with the community in moments of joy and also in difficult moments.
What advice do you have for other guys thinking about the priesthood?
May they dare to write a new story in their lives, one that involves, first of all, giving up our own comfort zone. Second, dare to live in freedom fighting against everything that separates us from Christ. And finally, trust in Jesus, if we accept the call to live in the style of Jesus, we will have the certainty that He will always be with us and will never leave us alone.