My Vocation Story
By Eduardo Lozano Ramírez
Eduardo is currently discerning a vocation with the Claretian Missionaries accompanied by Vocation Director, Fr. Sahaya Rubiston, CMF “Fr. Rubi”.
As with many vocations, mine began within my family. I was born on the feast day of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin in Jalostotitlán, Jalisco, Mexico and was baptized with the name of Eduardo Lozano. My mom and I lived with my great-grandmother until I turned four years of age, when my mom met my future stepfather. They got married and then decided to migrate to Los Angeles, California.
The earliest memory I recall was when I was five years old, I’d play celebrating Mass. I took my toy box and placed my favorite throw on top, a rosary, a yellow plastic cup filled with grape juice and a small dish with Ritz crackers. Now, I didn’t understand the Order of Mass so I went from singing the Gloria to lifting up the cracker and saying “this is Jesus’ body” likewise with the cup. I skipped the readings because they were boring and way too long, I just wanted to lift up my “host” and my “chalice” because that was the highlight of my Sunday mornings.
Through my years in public schools I was bullied and made fun of because I wanted to be a priest. My classmates never understood the burning fire inside of me. I wanted them to love Jesus as much as I do, but that resulted in having a very small friend group and being called names. The only time I ever felt comfortable talking about Jesus was during the first communion classes, even then I suffered bullying. But I never felt alone, I knew I was being called to something greater, something that none of them, not even I understood.
I started to take my vocation seriously when I was in the seventh grade. I joined the acolyte ministry; my biggest desire was to be in the altar next to the priest. At this time, I also started attending daily Mass, I got to know the parishioners personally and we grew in mutual love and support. I was asking God to give me affirmative answers if this was my call. And in His great mercy, I remember putting on my cassock for Sunday Mass and I was filled with emotions. I understood in the moment of consecration that my vocation is to bring the fount of love to every individual, Catholic or not.
So, right away, I sent an email to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles asking for information about entering the seminary. I think that my love for the priesthood came with the intercessions of a lady I fell in love with as a child: Mary. The patron saint of the city I was born in is Our Lady of the Assumption, I hold her image very dear to my heart. I started my application for the minor seminary of the Archdiocese in ninth grade. I went to visit the seminary and I was mind blown at the fact that one day that was going to be my home.
I’d never seen a religious priest, I thought that all priests belonged to the Archdiocese. After much research I came to find out that religious priests and brothers existed in the Roman Catholic Church. I was immediately repelled by them because they took a vow of poverty. I never had a privileged life per se, but the fact that I would have to live in probably worse conditions than what I had grown up with did not sound like the right path to me. So, I prayed days on end begging our Lord not to give me a vocation to religious life. I didn’t want to leave Los Angeles to go do missionary work in a country where I didn’t know anyone or even speak their language.
Well truth is, God really works in mysterious ways! Doomsday for me was the Religious Education Congress in March of 2019. I was walking around the booths looking around - mind you I was set on becoming a diocesan priest. I wasn’t looking to join any of the religious communities present. And so, as if by Divine will, my eye was attracted to a picture of Saint Toribio Romo, a native of Jalostotitlán too. And then proceeded to be reeled in by a priest to talk about their missions. I was so nervous at that moment that I don't remember the conversation, I only remember writing down my information on a card and being invited to a Come and See Retreat at San Gabriel Mission. But I left very curious about the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
By next month, I was packing my bags ready to live with the priests in the mission for a weekend. All I can say is my heart felt at peace, it felt so right to be there. During my personal time with the Blessed Sacrament, everything started to make sense when I felt that interior fire burning. I feel called to be what Saint Anthony Mary Claret said about who a Missionary Son is, “A Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man on fire with love, who spreads its flames wherever he goes. He desires mightily and strives by all means possible to set everyone on fire with God’s love.”
I felt called to this spirituality when I was given the opportunity to participate in the Posadas ministry in Fresno, California. I was placed out of my comfort zone many times, but the experience overall was a big wake up call for me. I saw the need to bring God closer to people now more than ever.
With the help and guide of Our Lady and St. Joseph, I know God’s plan will be done in me as I keep discerning the path to the priesthood with the Claretians. I humbly ask you to keep my brothers and myself in your prayers so that we can have an abundance of holy and righteous priests. Peace and blessings.
Could you be called to a vocation to serve the people of God as a missionary? Check out www.myclaret.org to find out more and contact a vocation director who will be happy to accompany you on your discernment journey.