By KATIE BORKOWSKI
The most memorable part of Father Mauro Sanchez’s ordination a year ago was “looking to the side and seeing my whole family there sharing my joy and happiness.”
The previous summer when he was ordained a transitional deacon in Sioux City, only one of his sisters and a few nephews and nieces were present, so having his whole family there for his ordination was a good change.
Father Sanchez was ordained on July 9, 2016, at his home parish of Assumption in Querendaro, Michoacan, Mexico. He served his first year as the parochial vicar at All Saints Parish and chaplain at Gehlen Catholic School in Le Mars.
“I have enjoyed it so much,” he said. “I am really thankful to God and the people at All Saints Parish for a great year. They have really welcomed me and helped me to grow as a person and to become a better shepherd in my service to the flock entrusted to me.”
The priest learned so much during his first year that he didn’t know what to say.
“The seminary gives us the basic knowledge in order to work and help the pastor at a parish, but a new priest really doesn’t learn how to function as a priest until he has to do the work,” said Father Sanchez. “So, everything I did at the parish this year was a new learning process, doing things for the first time.”
He had to learn how to celebrate a funeral Mass, how to hear confessions and “deal with people who had been to confession recently as well as with those who had been away from the church and confession for many years.”
One of Father Sanchez’s greatest joys during his first year was working at Gehlen and spending time with the kids there.
“I will really miss that in my new assignment,” said the priest, who will now be serving at Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City. “I also really enjoyed being able to help people as they prepared to meet the Lord; my heart was always joyful after I went to anoint someone dying. But always, the greatest joy was to be able to celebrate Mass and feed the sheep entrusted to me with the heavenly food, Jesus our Lord.”
Father Sanchez offered a few words of advice to the recently-ordained Fathers Andrew Galles and Matthew Solyntjes.
“I would just tell them to welcome everyone, to spend time with all the groups at the parish and to spend time with families when they invite you to their home,” said Father Sanchez. “They will really appreciate your time with them, love you and see you as their spiritual guide and someone who cares for them.”