Editor’s note: This is one in a series of personal vocation stories from seminarians, religious women, deacons and priests in the Diocese of Salt Lake City.
When the Lord is calling you the first step is to say, “Here I am, Lord.”
I grew up in a small town in New Mexico and heard the call to serve the Lord at a very young age. I was called to serve as an altar server and I was too young to make the decision, but as it turned out, it was a good decision as I loved serving at the altar during my formative years. At the age of 17 I was asked by my local priest to consider going to the seminary to become a priest. After two years in the seminary, I was able to discern that this was not to be my vocation. At the age of 25 I entered into a happy marriage and became the father of four children. Marriage was my real calling, and I dedicated my life to my wife and children. My wife and I served with joy as Eucharistic ministers, visiting the sick, jail ministry and were involved with Marriage Encounter for many years.
The Lord was not done with me. I had already felt called to be an ordained deacon at the age of 55. I hesitated at first but decided to take a year of discernment in the program. After that year and with the grace of God, my wife, my children and I decided to answer the call and complete the five-year program. I am proud of my wife, who attended every deacon class with me. I was ordained a deacon for the Diocese of Salt Lake City on Nov. 30, 1997.
I have served the Lord and His Blessed Mother with joy and gratitude for 20-plus years. I am now serving as a deacon in southern Texas, where I know the Lord wants me to be. Our service can be answered anywhere. This is an answer to our loving Lord who calls His workers. It is a call to be of humble service to do Our Lord’s work.
When the Lord is calling you the first step is to say, “Here I am, Lord.” Take time in prayerful discernment – then make your decision. Consult loved ones and your parish priest. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Deacon Reynaldo Q. Merino was ordained for the Diocese of Salt Lake City on Nov. 30, 1997. He now ministers in Texas.