The norm in most Catholic families, parents will tell you, is that children require some effort — even convincing — to get to church on Sundays.

Lucio Trinidad was not one of those children.

“Growing up, I’d force my Mom to take me to Mass,” confessed Trinidad, who grew up the fourth of five children in a small town in Jalisco, Mexico.

Looking back, Trinidad credited his great-grandparents for transmitting that love for the faith. Although he moved to Southern California at the age of 11, he believes they played the most important role in his vocation: teaching him about the faith, bringing him to daily Mass, and encouraging his prayer life.

There were other influences, too, like Trinidad’s uncle, a priest, and the parish pastor who recruited Trinidad as an altar server in his early years. When his family moved to the LA area, the thought of a possible life as a priest faded as he focused on learning English and getting used to a new country.

“It was mostly a culture shock,” remembered Trinidad. “In the beginning it was hard.”

But while attending confirmation classes, God “sparked the fire again” in Trinidad to take discernment seriously. In particular, he remembered the joy he experienced helping in first Communion classes while earning service hours.

“I really enjoyed doing that, helping the kids build a relationship with God,” said Trinidad. “I think that influenced my decision a lot, just finding that joy every week in being there with the kids and sharing the faith with others.”

After graduating from Dominguez High School in Compton, he returned to Mexico for a year to take care of his great-grandmother, and even considered enrolling in seminary there. But after her death, he returned to California and entered seminary formation in Los Angeles: first at Juan Diego House in Gardena as an undergraduate in college, and then St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo.

Trinidad considers himself an introvert, a trait he wasn’t sure was a right fit for the priesthood. But he considers his internship year serving under Msgr. Jarlath Cunnane at St. Cornelius in Long Beach a turning point. While still an introvert who knows how to “enjoy solitude,” he found himself becoming more outgoing and open to people.

“That’s when everything flourished,” recalled Trinidad. “I saw myself as doing this for the rest of my life.”

Trinidad’s path to the priesthood has not come without tests. Months into the Covid-19 pandemic, his beloved great-grandfather died. Being unable to travel to Mexico for the funeral was hard, he remembered. But being instituted to the order of “acolyte” at the seminary a few months later helped Trinidad realize the source of a new special connection.

“That was part of my growth in the Eucharist, to know that every time that I offer the Sacrifice, [my late relatives] will be by my side.”

There will certainly be relatives at Trinidad’s side on Ordination Day, including his grandfather and the 13 nephews and nieces who jokingly call him “Tio Bruno,” a reference to the mysterious, hidden character in the 2021 Disney film Encanto (“I don’t really show up for many things,” since entering the seminary, Trinidad laughed).

From Angelus News