Thursday, October 8, 2015

Discovering New Horizons: A Hilltop Profile of a New Seminarian

by Br. William Petry, M.Sp.S

Abundio Colazo Lopez, a seminarian of the Diocese of Tucson in his second year of college, has encountered in Mount Angel Seminary a new community and an opportunity to share his talents and a challenge to grow.

About Abundio: His Family

Coming from a family of five and only 23 years old, Abundio is the oldest of his siblings followed by a brother and three sisters. He has twin sisters who are currently in high school, and his youngest sibling is only 11 years old. He and his family are from Ciudad Guzman, Jalisco Mexico.  At only 12 years old, he came to the United States to live with his aunt and begin middle school.

He shared that it was a difficult shift, being relocated from Ciudad Guzman to Mesa, AZ. "I came over here,” Abundio recalled, “and I didn't know any English at all . . . It was that time of transition and a little bit of culture shock." He was reunited to his immediate family about a year after his arrival to the United States.

Discerning His Vocation

At 19 Abundio started attending the youth group at St. James Parish in Coolidge, AZ. However, due to his immigration status he had to return to Mexico for a year. He finally received the notification that his residency was approved in September of 2012, only two weeks before his 21st birthday. Twenty-one years was the cut-off age for his process to receive permanent residency.

Abundio said, "I was like, well, God I will accept your will, but He wanted me back and now I’m back."  He saw this as God’s hand working in his life, leading him step by step closer to the mission he was called to do.

Returning to St. James Parish in Arizona, Abundio did not waste time. He began coordinating the Spanish youth group called “grupo pan de vida.” In addition to this he joined the Spanish choir and was asked to join the pastoral council of the parish. Meanwhile he began studying at Central Arizona Community College, choosing radiology as his major while juggling a part-time job.

On January 6, 2013, Fr. Virgilio Tabo Jr., or Fr. “Jojo” as Abundio affectionately calls him, from Abundio’s parish visited his family’s home to bless it.  As Fr. Jojo was entering each room, something special occurred when he arrived to Abundio’s room. Abundio shared that Fr. Jojo “stared at my wall and all of my holy cards and then looking into my eyes said, ‘Abundio have you ever thought of being a priest?’ and I replied: ‘Actually I have!’” This moment was the catalyst for his journey of seriously considering the priesthood.

Fr. Jojo referred Abundio to Fr. Ricky Ordóñez, the vocational director of the Diocese of Tucson at that time. Fr. Ricky invited Abundio to visit Mount Angel Seminary in February of that same year. After arriving at Mount Angel Seminary, Abundio said, “I felt like I belonged.” The warm community and sacred prayer time made him feel more and more comfortable about consolidating his decision to enter the seminary.

Abundio Colazo Lopez with Mount Angel Abbey in the background.

At the same time Abundio’s family was assimilating his new decision. His father had always imagined Abundio finishing his major in college and eventually marrying. His mother, he shared, was more supportive of the idea though she was uncomfortable with the idea of her firstborn leaving the house. Now that Abundio is in the seminary, his parents are both supportive of his decision.

“It’s Real Now”: Life as a Seminarian

Over a month has passed since Abundio moved into Mount Angel Seminary. Regarding his initial feelings as he began orientation, he shared that all he could think of was, "It's real now.” Everything that he had experienced before, his discernment, the years of preparation, were for the moments that he is now living. Since school began, he has not wasted time. He has begun to employ his talents on the hilltop. He belongs to the Spanish schola and also the seminary soccer team.

Abundio’s qualities are not unnoticed. Isaac Allwin, also a seminarian from the Diocese of Tucson in his second year of college, shares that Abundio is a very dedicated and responsible seminarian. He stated that he is a very good listener and is not quick to interject his own comments or opinions. Isaac said, “He is a really good seminarian as a whole, and I mean that.”

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