Educating the faith of students is one of the most important tasks of our mission: a witness from Fuenlabrada.

“Prof, is it true that one day we will resurrect? Prof, does hell exist? How does the story of Apocalypse go?”
There are many questions that my students ask. One of them, trying to pull my leg, came to me and asked me to pray for him because he had a difficult exam that day. First, I asked him whether he studied, and then I told him that he himself could also ask God for whatever it was that he wanted. He replied that God would surely listen to my prayer because I am a priest, adding that he had stopped praying many years ago. I smiled, and entrusted him to Mother Mary in silence.
These are the students at the school where I have been teaching a little more than a year, Colegio Fuenlabrada. Two years ago, during a summer camp, Father Tommaso told me that a school near our parish was looking for a religion teacher, and that they had called us… It was one of those moments in life where I understood that the Lord was calling me to something, to trust Him and to move past my doubts. The thought of becoming a teacher did not really fit into my plans, but, as has happened already many times in my life, I understood that when I surrender and stop fighting, I discover the peace and certitude that only God can give me, allowing me to accept His will – even if it means sacrifice. And so, on September 1, 2019, I began this new adventure.
It had been ten years since a priest set foot in that school, and on the first day of school, there were quite a few people looking at me curiously, especially my fellow teachers. They probably were thinking to themselves: “Who could this be, this man dressed in black?”
For the first time in my life, I perceived the meaning of the word “prejudice”: some of them had a hard time talking to me, or even greeting me, due simply to the fact that I was a priest. The most helpful thing was that I did not stop wearing my clerics. I must admit that I was tempted to not wear them, especially during the first few days. However, the clerics helped and continue to help me to reaffirm who I am, and why I am here in Spain. The mere fact of wearing my priestly garb compels the professors and the students to think, even for a second, of God. What gives me peace and allows me to go, every day, to work in a place indifferent to religion, is the fact that I have been sent, as well as the fact that I desire enormously to help the students to encounter God.
After a year, I can say with immense gratitude that God has already allowed me to perceive the fruits of my labor there. Some of my students have begun to come to the parish; slowly – very slowly – they are coming near to God again. But the most beautiful fruit is that which is growing in me: a maturity of faith. Being in a place totally imbued with a secular mentality helps me to give reasons for my faith and for the proposals that I make to my students on a daily basis. It helps me to get to know them where they are, and it forces me to find ways to encounter them so that, ultimately, God can reach them. My students did not stop believing in God or in the Church because they decided to on their own, or because they had good reasons; they stopped believing simply because we adults stopped proposing the faith to them in attractive and convincing ways. What they ask of me, even without asking it explicitly, is to give them something true, something alive and present, something that is important to me.
When I enter the classroom, I am often moved just by looking at my students, because in each one of them, behind the mask that they have decided to wear, I can see their hidden desire to encounter the meaning of their frenetic lives. This desire is what unites us, and it is for this reason that I am there with them.

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