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The Diocese of Laredo Welcomes A New Priest and Transitional Deacon

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Written by Most Rev. James A. Tamayo, Bishop of the Diocese of Laredo


Today, Saturday, November 26, 2022, is a momentous day for the Diocese of Laredo as we welcomed a new priest and a new transitional deacon. José Luis Restrepo, currently a transitional deacon at San Agustín Cathedral, was ordained into the priesthood, and seminarian Jerry Gutierrez, who is serving at Christ the King Church in Laredo, was ordained a transitional deacon for the Diocese of Laredo! The ordination of these two men comes after years devoted to studying at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, as well as time devoted to ministry – serving in our parishes, as well as parishes in the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

Though the lives of each of these men has been very different – Deacon José Luis grew up in Colombia, and seminarian Jerry Gutierrez in New Jersey – both were brought up in families who prioritized practicing their Catholic faith. Growing up, Deacon José Luis Restrepo’s mom worked as the secretary at his parish, and he was an altar server. Attending Mass with his large extended family was a natural part of seminarian Jerry Gutierrez’s Sundays as he was growing up. In addition to the influence of their families, both attribute the formation received at their respective Catholic schools with leading them to consider vocations to the priesthood.

As bishop of the Diocese of Laredo, I am thankful that both of these men heeded the call of our Lord to pursue religious vocations. It is not always easy to follow our Lord – each of these men made sacrifices, beginning with moving away from family, from the place each knew as “home,” each to pursue his specific calling. However, going where God leads us is always worth the struggles we may encounter along the way. These men have found great joy serving God throughout their journey as seminarians, and over the past year, as a deacon, for José Luis Restrepo. Though far from family, they have found comfort in God who is always near.

I am grateful that our Lord led Deacon José Luis and seminarian Jerry Gutierrez to serve the faithful in our diocese. It can be scary to say “yes” to God when we do not know exactly where we will be led, but both of these men are a testament to the fact that God has wonderful plans for each of us – we simply need to surrender our lives to Him. Our diocese spans across seven counties, and as some of our priests near retirement, it is vital that we ask the Holy Spirit to open the hearts of more young men and guide them to seek a vocation to the priesthood. At the same time, we must encourage the young men in our lives to consider committing their lives to God as priests. For both Deacon José Luis and seminarian Jerry Gutierrez, it was through an invitation to consider the priesthood that they seriously began to pursue this vocation.

Will you join me in offering prayers of thanksgiving for Deacon José Luis Restrepo and seminarian Jerry Gutierrez? May the Holy Spirit grant them the continued grace to seek the voice of God, and follow where He leads, all the days of their lives. Let us also pray that young men and women will turn to our Lord, fully trusting in Him to guide their future – whether that be pursuing a vocation in religious life, married life or single life. There are many ways to serve God, and He gifts each of us with unique talents to fulfill the special role for which we were made. Furthermore, it is when we answer God’s call that we find true happiness. My dear brothers and sisters, I pray that you may know the deep joy found by following our Lord.