Most of those times early on, I answered, “I don’t think so,” or “I’ve got other plans.” Eventually, with the experience I gained through all my active participation and involvement in church activities, as well as much reflecting and intimate prayer time spent with Him, I could no longer resist His invitation. Rather, I began to seriously contemplate the idea that He might be calling me to become a priest.

Mr. Beto Montes-Contreras

Mount Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, OR
Pre-Theology I

I grew up in a small, beautiful town called El Salvador high in the mountains of México. At my hometown parish of El Sagrado Corazón in México, I was an active parish member starting as an Altar Server. Upon moving to Oregon in 1992, I continued to be actively involved at St. Mary Parish in Eugene. My many parish activities included leading, as well as training, guitar and mandolin musicians for the Spanish choir. I assisted as a catechist for the high school Confirmation classes, and I participated in the Lady of Guadalupe committee for the annual December 12th festivities.

All of the years of involvement in church activities has allowed me to not only grow in my faith, strengthen my gifts, and share my talents, but to come to the realization that being in the house of the Lord is where I obtain my greatest joy. It took these many years to understand that the Lord has been calling me for something more! I realize now that He was using these talents and special activities to reach out and send His invitation to me. He used a few members of my parishes, both in México and Oregon, to plant the seed of becoming a priest and marrying His Church. Most of those times early on, I answered, “I don’t think so,” or “I’ve got other plans.” Eventually, with the experience I gained through all my active participation and involvement in church activities, as well as much reflecting and intimate prayer time spent with Him, I could no longer resist His invitation. Rather, I began to seriously contemplate the idea that He might be calling me to become a priest.

I feel that the Lord touched my heart and calmed my anxiety. I remember while attending one of the Archbishop’s priesthood discernment retreats, during the Holy Hour of Adoration and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, an immense sense of peace overtook me. I felt so much joy that I cried. From that impactful experience I knew what I needed to do. Here I am to serve the Lord in this particular way.

I know that the journey towards my priestly vocation will be guided by His hand, and with your prayers, He will strengthen me along the way. God bless you!