The vocation story of Antonio Acevedo, one of the five priests ordained on June 23rd.

I passed the first ten years of my life in the capital of Colombia, Bogotá, there I received the gift of the faith. My parents taught me to pray and they communicated the certainty that life is good. My grandma taught how to say the rosary and on Sunday’s I would see all my friends from the neighborhood at the Mass. Nevertheless, the civil war pushed my parents to look for a better future elsewhere: we emigrated to Vancouver, Canada. There I had the first clear intuition that God wanted me to be a priest. My parents brought me to visit a Benedictine college so that I might better evaluate the idea of entering there. When I got there, I found the doors closed. I saw a window with the lights on, knocking at the door I was met by the rector: “Jump in through the window” he told me. Surprised, I said goodbye to my parents as he continued laughing: “Welcome, when you become a priest you will be able to say that you entered seminary through a window”. I stood open-mouthed: only then, in that moment, I understood that I was dealing with a seminary. During the days I was there, I was able to see in the monks, a life that was donated: the morning prayer and the work in the fields. It was something that fascinated and frightened me at the same time. When my parents came back, I told them I did not want to stay. In reality, I thought: “And if God wants a life like this for me?”.
From that point onwards, I was in another Benedictine school, this time in Washington D.C. where my father had found the best possibility for work. However, this reason did not satisfy the questions pounding in my teenage heart: what meaning was there in this transfer into the United States? The war and work had brought us there, and yet, these facts did not suffice: I needed a definitive answer. I asked myself whether it was possible to be happy in the present moment and not only in heaven. Resigned to not find reasons, I dedicated all my energy to studying, with the intention of returning to Canada.
During the last year of high school, my life suddenly changed: the first day of school I met four Italian students who had come to do a foreign exchange in the school. From the very beginning, I was attracted to their simplicity and contagious friendship. One day, before lunch, they invited me to say a prayer to our Lady, they used words that were unfamiliar to me: the prayer was the angelus. I intuited that at the heart of their day there was the faith, more than anything else I was struck by their joy. At the end of the year, I realized that I was in peace with myself: I didn’t need to go anywhere else to be happy, it was enough to stay with them. It was the answer to my interrogations: I had left Colombia to encounter them. Then we each took different ways: I went to university in Vancouver and they returned to Italy. Before leaving, they told me that their friendship was forever and that it had a name: Communion and Liberation. When I arrived to Vancouver, I found new friends in this Movement: faces never seen but already familiar. During the five year of university, I understood that the possibility of giving my life to God, something that I had never stopped desiring, had found a place to become real. With them I shared everything, from the passion for studying and a meal together, to a glass of bear. I understood that faith had to do with these things, actually, it made them more beautiful: they were possibilities to affirm our belonging to Jesus, who had put us together. Thanks to their companionship, I felt the need to share the beauty of this way of living and I asked to enter into the Fraternity of St. Charles. It is the house that embraced me, so that I might embrace anyone, even those in the extreme margins of the world.

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