By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published July 2, 2009
Father Salomón Garcia Cortés was drawn to his first seminary in Mexico in part because it specialized in training men to be missionary priests.
“You had to go out. That meant you are going to meet a lot of people from different cultures,” he said. That prospect seemed exciting to the 20-year-old he was as he entered the seminary.
Now, some 14 years later, he is to be ordained in a culture different from his native Mexico.
“I went there and here I am,” he said.
“I feel like a missionary because I am with people of different cultures and nationalities. It is a wonderful experience to meet other people who have a great desire to know and to love God,” he wrote later by e-mail.
A native of Mexico City, the 34-year-old comes from a family with eight children. Father Garcia is the oldest son of Alfredo Garcia and M. Delfina Francisca Cortes Cortes. As a youngster, he regularly attended Sunday Mass and occasionally daily Mass with his parents.
He arrived here in 2001 after hearing Atlanta clergy, like Msgr. Frank G. Giusta, talk at his seminary about the needs in the Atlanta Archdiocese, especially as Mexicans and other Spanish-language Catholics put down roots in North Georgia.
Father Garcia first attended Georgia State University to improve his English and then college in Louisiana for an undergraduate degree. His seminary studies were done at St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, Pa.
During his summer assignments, Father Garcia helped at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Decatur, Sacred Heart Church, Hartwell, and St. Matthew Church, Tyrone.
On the eve of his ordination, Father Garcia said his emotions are too many to express. Naming 100 different feelings would leave out so many more, he said.
“It is a great joy,” he said simply.
Instead, he wrote a prayer expressing his feelings about what he called “a new journey.”
“I know that you will be at my side in this new journey as we walk together into the unknown,” he wrote in the prayer addressed to Jesus.
Father Garcia said he wants to serve as an instrument of God and he especially wants to be involved in passing on faith and teachings of the Catholic Church.
“As a priest, I want to be involved in the faith of the people and celebration of the sacraments,” he said.
First Assignment: Holy Trinity Church, Peachtree City
Father Salomón Garcia Cortés
Education: Bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religious studies. Master’s in divinity, St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, Pa.
Hobbies and Interests: Running, fishing, chess, dominoes, othelo, billiards
Additional Languages: Spanish
Particular Ministries of Interest: Catechesis
Favorite Quote: Duc in Altum, Donec Formetur (Cast off into the deep until you are formed).