Fr. Ignacio Marin from Costa Rica, current Rector and Formator at the Daniel Comboni Seminary (DCS), celebrates on August 29 his 25th anniversary of priestly ordination. He worked in Uganda, Costa Rica and now is in the Philippines. Let us hear from him about this significant moment in his life as a Comboni missionary priest.
PUBLISHED ONMar 2018
Fr. Pacheco: Father, we know that this year is a Jubilee Year for you since you are celebrating 25 years of priestly ordination. Tell us about it. What is the meaning of this Silver Sacerdotal Jubilee for you? What have you been experiencing all this time since the beginning of January up to now?
Fr. Ignacio: It has been like a dream to me so far…years have passed quite fast at the service of the mission all this time. I haven’t been counting the passing of years, you know; rather, I have been enjoying being an evangelizer, a missionary; and that is what gives meaning to the celebration of my Silver Jubilee. To celebrate 25 years of priestly ordination means for me to celebrate the joy of being a priest in the service to God and to His people.
On the other hand, since the beginning of this year, I have already experienced the “celebrative- festive atmosphere” of my anniversary especially because, in January, I had the opportunity to anticipate the celebration with my family, friends, the Comboni Missionaries and the people of my home parish there in Costa Rica. It was really a beautiful and remarkable moment.
Fr. Pacheco: Twenty-five years as a priest! As a Comboni missionary priest! Tell us about priesthood, Father. Who is a priest, what is the profile, the identity of the Roman Catholic priest? And then, tell us also about you as missionary priest. Who are you as a Comboni missionary priest?
Fr. Ignacio: A priest in the Catholic Church is a shepherd of the community, a member of the community itself who becomes a shepherd to the other members after God’s blessings. To be a priest is to be blessed by God in order to become a blessing for the community.
Now, as a Comboni missionary priest, I am one who is sent by the Church to other places in order to share with many sisters and brothers the Good News of Jesus Christ, one who does mission in the way Comboni did (among the poorest and most abandoned), giving life to the charism we received from him through my mission.
Fr. Pacheco: How did this “vocation adventure” start?
Fr. Ignacio: It started during my college years after the visit of the vocation promoter to our school. The way he spoke about the missions and the poster he had with actual pictures caught immediately my attention. After accompaniment and after attending some recollections at the seminary, I joined the Comboni Missionaries. Since then, 25 years have passed!
Fr. Pacheco: As a young priest, we know you spent some years in Africa, concretely in Uganda...would you share with us about that? Tell us about the African mission.
Fr. Ignacio: Well, I was about to be ordained as a deacon when I read in the bulletin of the Congregation the following: “Fr. William Nyadru has died in the Uganda mission. We need new missionaries for Uganda!”…Trust me, somehow I knew that that line was written for me…and that scared me. I was planning to start little by little, my country first, then advancing a bit farther, but Africa right now? No! Initially, I resisted and was vocal about it. However, I followed the motion of the Spirit and I went: I saw the actual difficulties there upon arrival (violence, especially). I thought of leaving but then I decided give it a try for a month. That “month” became ten years and those years have been the most beautiful ones in my life.
Fr. Pacheco: With this atmosphere of your Sacerdotal Jubilee, what message would you like to give to the friends of the missions, especially to the youth?
Fr. Ignacio: To the friends of the missions, continue to believe in the mission of the Church and in the mission of Comboni. It belongs to God, not to us. Therefore, continue supporting and sustaining this mission. To the youth, it is worthy to follow Jesus Christ, it’s a great adventure. Do not be afraid!
Fr. Pacheco: In a few words, how could you summarize your experience of these 25 years as a Comboni missionary priest?
Fr. Ignacio: I could summarize it with my favorite religious song: Que detalle Señor has tenido conmigo! (What a gesture from You to me, O Lord!)
MUCHAS GRACIAS AND HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, FR. NACHO!