For the past few years Augustinian priest Father Homero Sanchez has been an associate pastor at my home church St Jude in New Lenox.
In just a few short years he has made a profound impact on our parish and especially with our young people.
Fr. Sanchez is one of the most jubilant and passionate priests I’ve ever met, he does not do quiet and his enthusiasm is contagious. Whether you see him after mass, at a church function or even as he celebrates mass, he openly carries God’s love with him and as scripture (Matthew 5:15), tells us, “Does not hide it under a bushel basket”.
Fr. Sanchez was one of the first people at church that we told about our pregnancy and then whom got to meet our young son and he couldn’t have been happier.
But we found out earlier this month that he is being transferred to St Rita of Cascia on the south side of Chicago.
I know my wife’s nephew was heartbroken when he found out that Fr. Sanchez was leaving and honestly so was I. It wasn’t just a church conversation, people discussed it on Facebook as well because we have become Facebook friends with Fr. Sanchez.
Fr. Sanchez in short order has become more than just a parish priest, he has become one of us and a big part of our lives. I’ve come to look for him at parish events, just to feel his enthusiasm and see how he reacts to our son.
We have some great priests at church, devoted, dedicated men who serves us extraordinarily well but they are older men and I admit we can be a little conservative.
And then we get this burst of light come in named Fr. Sanchez who reaches out to every square in of the church and lets you know that devotion isn’t always quiet.
Fr. Sanchez is a native of Etúcuaro, Madero, Michoacán Mexico and openly admits his English isn’t great and I always try to imagine me trying to converse in Spanish and how awful I would be if I’m not ordering food or asking where the bathroom is.
Did I mention Fr. Sanchez shares a birthday with our son?
I don’t think that matters to Fr. Sanchez his excitement is all over and not just to any certain part of the congregation.
One of the great things about our church is the diversity between services, the early morning service is definitely the most conservative and the later morning services are moderate.
And then there is the evening service aka “Life Mass”, the service of young people and the sweet spot for Fr. Sanchez, its also the mass my family attends. It’s a lively, enthusiastic way to end the weekend and prepare yourself for the work week.
It reminds me of the youth masses of my youth and a young priest named Fr. Tom Walsh over 20 years ago at Holy Name of Mary in Morgan Park. He literally brought the Holy Spirit into any place we prayed and brought our youth group to new heights.
And then like that, he was transferred to the West Side.
With Fr. Sanchez, I felt that Holy Ghost for the first time since 1993 on 112th Street and I’m so glad our young people got to experience it because you never forget it.
I’m a lifelong Catholic and am aware that priests get reassigned (especially young ones), but it doesn’t make it any easier when your favorite minister moves on.
But your faith has been heightened by his presence and the priest goes on to help more people and our faith continues to grow.
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Filed under: Church