I’m grateful and beyond blessed to have a good family and two devout parents. Both my parents received their faith from their mothers at an early age. My siblings and I were cradle Catholics and attended mass every Sunday. My parents have and continue to pray for us that the Good Lord guides and protects our lives.

Mr. Mauricio Duran

Praise be to God, for his mercy endures forever.

I’m grateful and beyond blessed to have a good family and two devout parents. Both my parents received their faith from their mothers at an early age. My siblings and I were cradle Catholics and attended mass every Sunday. My parents have and continue to pray for us that the Good Lord guides and protects our lives.

As a young kid I knew I wanted to make a difference in the world. Most of my teenage years I believed I would become a world class soccer player. I’d use my platform and status to inspire others and encourage positive changes. I didn’t formally or properly discern the priesthood or religious life growing up. Discerning my vocation wasn’t something that was brought to my attention as a kid or in my college years. My focus was on trying to survive and make a good living.

Many people throughout my life have told me I have great potential and they see me doing good. Time went on and I made good headway in my career, and I assisted my community. But I felt like I had not made true or real progress in life. A mentor of mine said, “The best way to make God laugh is by telling him our plans.” I understood what he meant, but I didn’t fully accept it. My ambition was to become someone great, with influence. My stubbornness led me to depend on my own understanding and caused me some headaches and grief.

My heart was attracted to poverty, chastity, and obedience. But my pride wouldn’t allow me to consult God about the sentiments of my heart. I deprived myself of the good things the Lord had already planned for me. My mind and my heart were in conflict, and it made me restless. One of the truest things my dad told me was ‘there’s a time in everyone’s life when they get on their knees and cry out to God.’

In the summer of 2021, I was tired and broken down by trying to guide myself in life. I knelt in a church and surrendered myself to Christ, the Master of my life. On that day I pleaded that He take me into his care and be my Good Shepherd and I, as a sheep of His flock, would follow and obey Him all the days of my life. Since that day, God has straightened my path and given me the peace I longed for.

I enjoy the youth ministry at my parish St. James in McMinnville. This ministry has taught me patience and revealed my talents in teaching. I want to be a role model for the younger generations. I still aspire to make a difference in the world. Although now, I think global, act local, and trust God with it all.