Published July 9, 2020 | En Español
ATLANTA–On June 27, Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., ordained three new priests to serve in the Archdiocese of Atlanta
FATHER MILLER GOMEZ RUIZ
Birthplace: Colombia, South America
What were you doing before seminary? “Before entering the seminary here in the U.S., I finished my degree in philosophical and religious studies while I worked in a parish in Colombia.”
When did you first think about the priesthood? “I started to think about the priesthood because of the great witness and priestly testimony of my pastor. I was an altar server, and I was 6 years old.”
What pastoral learning experience made the greatest impact on you? “My pastoral year and deacon internship at St. Catherine of Siena in Kennesaw. It was a great opportunity to grow personally and in my formation to the priesthood because of the excellent priests and outstanding parish community.”
What excites you most about becoming a priest? “I am very excited to be able to serve the people of God through the celebration of sacraments and all the pastoral ministry dimensions.”
How was your life impacted during the coronavirus lockdown? “It has been a time of great suffering and uncertainty for many people. By God’s grace, I was deeply blessed to be able to remain at Notre Dame Seminary during the lockdown. I could finish my formation to the priesthood while I was strengthened with the daily celebration of the sacraments and community prayers. During this time, I was able to live my canonical retreat and do the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius from May 4 to June 2.”
Vesting priest: Father Carlos Vargas.
What saint has been your greatest inspiration? “My greatest saint inspiration is Francis of Assisi. His testimony and his deep relationship with God have encouraged thousands of people to follow Christ in a radical way. I admire his poverty, his simplicity of life, his humility, and his powerful love for people and nature.”
First assignment: Parochial vicar, Prince of Peace Church, Flowery Branch.
FATHER CRISTIAN MIGUEL COSSIO SEPULVEDA
Birthplace: Colombia, South America
What were you doing before seminary? “Before seminary, I completed high school in Colombia. After a couple of years, I took a break and worked as the faith formation coordinator at a local parish.”
When did you first think about priesthood? “Towards the end of high school, while attending the youth group.”
What pastoral learning experience made the greatest impact on you? “During my spiritual program ministry in a hospital in St. Paul Minnesota, I had the opportunity to serve and accompany the patients and their families, while also learning to better serve those who come and work at the hospital. This was one of the best experiences because it allowed me to serve while learning.”
What excites you most about becoming a priest? “Being able to accompany people at different stages in life, while serving as a bridge between people and God.”
How was your life impacted during the coronavirus lockdown? “What has impacted me the most is the desire of people to receive the Eucharist and at the same time, the increase of house churches where people practiced their faith. I have missed the community the most. Liturgy and catechesis feel uncanny without them.”
Vesting priest: Msgr. Peter Rau.
What saint has been your greatest inspiration? “I admire St. Joseph because of his humility. He quietly provided for the Holy Family and accompanied them following the will of God.”
First Assignment: Parochial vicar, St. Theresa Church, Douglasville.
FATHER PAUL PORTER
What were you doing before you entered seminary? “Working in broadcasting and doing my best to ignore God’s call to the priesthood.”
When did you first think about priesthood? “When I was 21, I met a young priest who I really admired and respected. I do not recall thinking about priesthood as a kid, but I did used to think that priests never told very funny homily jokes. Turns out after I started preaching, that I also do not tell very funny homily jokes. Things have come full circle in my life.”
What pastoral learning experience made the greatest impact on you? “My year at St. Patrick’s parish in Norcross was the first time I realized that I could be incredibly happy and fulfilled as a priest. I have not doubted my vocation to the priesthood since that year with those people.”
What excites you most about becoming a priest? “As a deacon, I am often wearing my clerics in public and from time to time people ask me if I can hear their confession. To which I usually respond, ‘I can certainly hear it, but unfortunately I cannot give you absolution.’ I’m excited to be able to finally respond, ‘of course!’”
How was your life impacted during the coronavirus lockdown? “When the news about the virus hit, our seminary was one of the first places to close down. So after seven years of calling a place home, I was unceremoniously forced to pack up all of my belongings and head back to Georgia to prepare for ordination. The best of my graduation, ordination, and even my 30th birthday plans have all been scattered. It has been an excellent lesson in detachment and trust in the plan of God. If anything has been made clear through all of this, it is that we are not in control and never really were.”
Vesting priest: Father Tim Hepburn.
What saint has been your greatest inspiration? “This is like being asked to name my favorite sibling! There are too many that have all accompanied me at different times in my life and in different ways. However, St. Peter is who I most often relate with in the Scriptures and is a part of the stories that I continue to come back to in prayer.”
First Assignment: Parochial vicar at St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell.