It was June 8, 2008 when Father Eduardo Aguirre came back to St. Christopher Parish in Moreno Valley to celebrate his first Mass. The reception was nothing less than magnificent. The Church was packed, for two Masses in a row. The plaza in front of the church was overflowing. There were some tents to accommodate the faithful who wanted to receive his first blessing. They were protected from the sun but even if there had been no tent, they still would have been there.
This is no ordinary priest to the people of St. Christopher. This is their priest. This is the priest who as a deacon for the last ten months attended to their every need, blessed their children, their homes, their cars, their rosaries and their sick, suffering and dying. He is a priest who became a priest gifted as much by the faithful as they are gifted by him. This is a priest who doesn't stand on ceremony and doesn't expect to be served hand and foot. This is a priest who blesses people with his firm and sincere embrace, the whole family at the same time, not just with a waving sigbn of the cross over their head. This is a priest who knows that in the embrace of blessing, the Grace flows both ways.
Father Aguirre was ordained a priest by Bishop Barnes on May 31 at the church of St. Paul the Apostle in Chino Hills. ParishWorld.net was present at the ordination. St. Christopher parishioners in droves were peppered around the nave. These same parishioners are so happy that "their" priest, the fruit of their prayers and their help is now able to perform to the fullest extent of the sacrament that he chased for so long. Father Aguirre was a deacon for seven years before being ordained to the priesthood. He served archbishop Mahony for many of those years. Then, God solved his problem, he introduced him to Bishop Barnes. Bishop Barnes asked Father Romeo Seleccion, MS, pastor of St. Christopher to form an internship committee to work with the deacon. So it was done. The committee was sincere and honest in its calling and the deacon was docile and responsive. In the end, it was easy to recommend that Eduardo Aguirre be ordained to the priesthood.
There are those at St. Christopher who are convinced that this experience has been God planting the seed of priestly vocations in this parish. The one thing that has not happened in the parish yet is that one of its children be ordained to the priesthood. After more than fifty years, there are now some from the parish who are in seminary preparing for the day of priesthood. One is getting very close. A couple more are two or three years away and a couple are just beginning. The response to the success of Father Aguirre, as it relates to the community of St. Christopher is, in the mind of some, the furrow which will accept and nurture the seed of more priestly vocations in the parish in the years to come.