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How a role-playing Mexican priest helped me learn to be myself

When my great-grandmother helped Fr. Miguel Pro escape from prison, I wonder what they said to each other.

She was an orphan of the Mexican revolution, and would bring him a disguise to slip past his captors, so that he could offer the sacraments for the faithful who lived nearby. Then, Father Pro would return to his prison cell as if nothing had happened.

Out of necessity in an anti-Catholic country, Father Pro was a master of disguises; you can find photos of these through a quick Internet search. He dressed as a mechanic to minister to cab & bus drivers; or as a farmer to go out to the rural areas. He was a beggar, an office worker… you name it!

True Identity

His truest identity was as a priest—someone who threw his entire self into God and who wanted to be a living image of Christ in the world.

However, the world didn’t allow him to live freely as a priest. He was hunted by the government day and night.

To live as his truest self, therefore, Father Pro chose to become so many other things; a miner, a mechanic, a wealthy gentleman…

One story recounts his conversation with Communists on a train, in which he jokingly claimed that he, too, was a socialist and a Communist. They all laughed together. Father Pro made such an impression on them that they offered him chocolates upon parting. Given the socio-political climate in Mexico at the time, this was no small accomplishment for a priest.

In each of these diverse circumstances, Father Pro strove to be Christ’s presence in that particular situation.

How To Live As Myself?

In our lives, perhaps there are many parts of our personality that never mix. When the barber inquires about my Sunday plans, do I reveal my devotion to God? Or, conversely, among my Church community, may I discuss the latest TV show I’ve been watching every weekend? Old classmates, sports buddies, neighbors, and family… can we consistently be the same person with them all?

I believe strongly that Miguel Pro would answer an enthusiastic, ¡Sí! to all of the above.

No matter what situation we’re in, each of us is only fully ourselves when we find our identity in Christ. Jesus is quoted in the Gospel according to John 10:10, “I came that they might have life and have it to the full.”

“Christ, … in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, makes man fully manifest to himself and brings to light his exalted vocation.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1701)

To put it simply; when we encounter God’s love by getting to know Christ, we discover our ultimate purpose & calling. When we show God’s love by how we live, we are most fully alive. When we find our identity in Christ, we are most fully & authentically ourselves—no matter what!

Ready for Life

Father Pro was all about life. He had so profoundly found himself in Christ, that he was prepared for death… and eternal life. In his final days, he promised:

If I meet any long-faced saints there [in Heaven], I will cheer them up with a Mexican hat dance! – Fr. Miguel Agustín Pro

Even his final words were about life and Christ: ¡Viva Cristo Rey! “Long Live Christ the King!” he shouted, before the reigning powers’ firing squad silenced his mortal voice. (Now, his words echo into eternity… never to be silenced!)

May Christ the King never be silenced in us. May we embrace a daily effort to know Christ in Scripture, in prayer, and in the living witness of the Church. May we fully find ourselves in Christ, and in every situation may we live fully alive!


Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.

Angela Sealana is Media Coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, having served at the apostolate since 2010. She also serves on the PCH Speaker Team.

A Path to Full Discipleship of Christ

God’s ways are not our ways. God can choose whoever He wants to accomplish the things He wishes to accomplish, as we see in the Book of Numbers (11:25-29) when Moses complains to God that the mission of guiding His Chosen People has become too great of a burden for him. So, God shares the spirit that He has given to Moses with 70 others, even those who were not in the prescribed place. Though this confused Joshua, Moses was given the wisdom to recognize that this was the work of God. The spirit of God is more important than the instrument He chooses.

We see something similar in the Gospel of Mark (9:38-43, 45, 47-48) John, the apostle closest to Jesus, has just tried to stop someone from driving our demons in Jesus’ name because he was not an apparent follower of Jesus. Jesus chastises him and tells him,

“For whoever is not against us is for us.”

Our focus must be on why we do what we do. God has revealed His plan to us through the Scriptures and the Church. We know that through baptism we become children of God and receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are also anointed with Chrism oil as Priest, Prophet, and King so that we might reach our full stature as a disciple of Christ.

Priest

We participate in the priesthood of Christ especially at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. At the beginning of the Eucharistic prayer the priest says, “Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours maybe be acceptable to God, the Almighty Father.” This is the time for us to place our intentions on the altar to be offered up with the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God. Our response is “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.” So, when the Holy Spirit, through the prayers of the priest, changes bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, we who are present, along with the priest, offer this holy sacrifice, to the Eternal Father. This is the most powerful prayer on earth because it makes present on the altar, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

We also fulfill our role as priest through the prayer and the sacrifices we offer up in union with the suffering of Christ. Our Lord expects every baptized person to participate in his plan of salvation. St. Therese the Little Flower once said,

“The Creator of the universe awaits the prayer of a poor little soul to save other souls.”

Only God knows how many souls we have affected during our life.

Prophet

We fulfill our role as prophet when we read, listen to, believe, live, and share the truth revealed to us through the Scriptures and the Church because the truth is prophetic in every age. It is only this truth that liberates us from the obstacles to our temporal and eternal happiness. Our parish offers many opportunities to grow in our faith through Bible studies, prayer groups, and faith formation resources.

King

We are king in the same manner as Christ the King. He said,

“I came not to be served, but to serve.”

In gratitude for God’s generous gifts to us, we are expected to be good stewards of our time, talent, and treasure. All good things come from God and everyone who is generous with what he has received will experience happiness as a consequence of that generosity. It is especially through generosity that we discover God’s providence and deepen our trust in him. It is through our involvement in the activities of the parish that we discover and develop the specific gifts that will help us to reach spiritual maturity and help our parish to be complete.

In baptism, we receive everything we need to begin our pilgrimage on earth. It is then through the Church and her sacraments that we are guided and fortified so that we can discover and live the specific plan God has for each of us. Every baptized person is expected to become a saint, not only for their own happiness but also that we participate in God’s saving plan for humanity.

Our Mission as Priest, Prophet, and King

This is our identity and purpose for the glory of God. What a wonderful plan God has for humanity. It is sad that currently, so many individuals are struggling to discover their true identity and purpose. This is amplified by the misguided ideologies supported by social, educational, and political entities.

The only solution for the confusion and pain we see in our world, is for us to follow the plan that God has set before us. On several occasions, our Blessed Mother has asked us to pray the rosary for the conversion of sinners. How many of us pray the rosary every day? The rosary has been the favorite prayer of many saints, including St. John Paul II who said when we pray the rosary and meditate on the mysteries, with Mary we are contemplating the face of Jesus. The rosary only takes about 20 minutes and it is beautiful to pray with the family.

When we frequent the sacraments of confession and Holy Eucharist it is not only for our own benefit, but for the Body of Christ. There is much concern about climate change and the health of our environment, and so on. However, there should be a greater concern for the spiritual health of humanity which has eternal consequences as well as being the solution to world problems. When we who are baptized become witnesses of all that has been given us, we will begin to see the world change.


Deacon Tom FoxK.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.