Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to welcome three new priests

June 3, 2014

Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to welcome three new priests
By Catherine Rogan, Media Relations Speciatist, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 7, 2014, Catholics throughout the Houston-Galveston area will welcome three new priests when Daniel Cardinal DiNardo ordains Richard Hinkley, Jesus Jesse Garcia and Oscar Dubon-Romero at the Co- Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 1111 St. Joseph Parkway in downtown Houston.

“These men have walked a long journey to their goal of the priesthood,” said Cardinal DiNardo. “They will be a tremendous asset and a blessing to the Archdiocese. I congratulate them on their perseverance and commitment to serve as priests in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.”

Houstonian Richard Hinkley, 30, said his interest in the priesthood began when he was in the ninth or tenth grade, but it was “a process, like falling in love or bringing an image into focus.” When he graduated from high school, he had a good sense that he wanted to be a priest, but instead of entering the seminary, he decided to go to college and then on to law school. However, during that first year at law school, he found the calling to the priesthood could no longer be avoided, so he contacted Fr. Dat Hoang, Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese.

Hinkley said that one of the many insights he gained in the seminary was an understanding of the priest as a “true servant of and for the Church…a priest is merely here to distribute all which is given through Christ and His Church.”

Jesse Garcia felt an attraction to the priesthood from a very young age – 5 years old. “I liked everything religious and Jesus was my best friend,” he said. By the age of 13 he knew he would dedicate his life to God. Instead of entering the seminary after high school, he started his religious life with the Focolare Movement, an international organization that promotes unity and brotherhood, and eventually took simple, private, perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to God. The movement took him to Toronto, Canada and New York City. After two years in New York, Garcia said “the vocation to the priesthood which I had put on the back burner became stronger than ever.” At the age of 41, he entered St. Mary’s Seminary where, for the last six years, he completed his studies.

Things were not so clear-cut for 35-year-old Oscar Dubon-Romero. “I received my first call to the priesthood when I was 9, but I never talked to anybody about it,” he said. “Growing up I remember a missionary priest, Padre Juan. His example and dedication inspired me even more to be a priest, but I still was keeping my desire my most precious secret and I thought that nobody had to know about it.” He said he spent his life running from this desire, even when local missionary priests had asked him to consider the priesthood. Little did he know when he came to Houston in 2002, he was running headlong into the arms of the Catholic Church.
A month after he arrived, Dubon-Romero felt a deep desire to go to church the following Sunday – this time he knew he couldn’t keep running, so he went to Mass at Holy Name Catholic Church. He later got involved in the parish’s young adult group and the pastor talked to him about vocations. “I noticed that anytime someone was talking to me about the vocation to be a priest I had the tendency to run away, but this time something was different … I decided to really give me a chance to discover if the call to the priesthood was for me or not.”

He entered the seminary in 2004. “As a priest, I want to help God’s people get closer to Him and help them discover how much God loves them and that His mercy endures forever,” Dubon- Romero said.

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston serves 1.2 million Catholics in 10 counties.
It is the largest Roman Catholic diocese in Texas and the 12th largest in the United States.
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