Rev. Luis Romero, C.M. ’14C has been assigned as the new Vocation Director for the Congregation of the Mission of the Eastern Province. He is headquartered in an office located in St. Thomas More Church on the Queens, NY, campus of St. John’s University, but the scope of his work will take him both near and far to recruit and share the story of the global mission and reach of the Vincentians.
Fr. Romero has come a long way from his childhood days in El Salvador, where the people in his town were only able to experience Mass twice a year from a visiting missionary. His interest in the priesthood was piqued when he observed how residents eagerly looked forward to his arrival.
“I saw the joy of the people when the priest visited,” he said. “This was their opportunity to go to confession, baptize their children, and receive the Eucharist.”
Fr. Romero became more familiar with the Vincentians when he moved to the United States and met Bishop Alfonso Cabezas while attending Mass at St. Martha’s Roman Catholic Church in Uniondale, NY. “Bishop Cabezas—a person so alive in his faith—invited me to make a retreat with the Vincentian discernment program, and that helped me to answer a call that was always tugging at me,” Fr. Romero explained. “I want to share God’s love with all people, especially the poor.”
As he moved through the Vincentian discernment program, Fr. Romero learned English through a supportive English as a Second Language program offered at St. John’s University. He soon enrolled as a student, completing his undergraduate degree in Philosophy in 2014. He was ordained a priest in June of 2019.
A vocation director accompanies a person considering a vocation to religious life by providing a regular and nurturing environment to allow them to approach discernment with a listening heart.
“I know the challenge that I face as vocations are on a decline,” he acknowledged. “Also, to do this job during a pandemic is an extra struggle. But my advice to anyone considering a vocation is ‘Be not afraid.’ Prayer will help guide you.”
One resource that Fr. Romero plans to utilize in his vocation work is a documentary, Ready and Able: A Vincentian Story, coproduced by the Congregation of the Mission and the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal. The film profiles Fr. Romero and his classmate, Rev. Leo Tiburcio, C.M., during their first year as priests that overlapped with the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information, contact Fr. Romero at 718-990-1823; [email protected].