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Wanting to do something remarkable for others – Surprised by joy!

That is the background of the August 14 celebration of a milestone for Walner Diaz on the way toward doing something remarkable for others … and being surprised by joy.

“Good purposes – The Completion of a Stage 

How many times do we hear this question asked of young people: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For 31-year-old Mr. Walner Diaz, a Vincentian seminarian, the answer was easy. He chose the life of a vocation with the Congregation of the Mission.

In the language of the Congregation of the Mission, “Good Purposes” signifies a stage in a seminarian’s journey into a lifetime commitment with the Congregation of the Mission. A promise is made to serve the poor and follow in the footsteps and teachings of St. Vincent de Paul. It includes a commitment to practice poverty, chastity, and obedience according to the Constitutions and Statutes of the Congregation of the Mission.

He put it so simply. “Since I was a kid, I always wanted to do something remarkable for others, especially for those who are poor, marginalized, and vulnerable to injustice. I think that the Congregation of the Mission is well known for its charism of serving the poor and assisting them with material and spiritual needs.”

He has just completed an intense year devoted to exploring the implications of that choice.

Official documents express the purpose of the year.

This level of formation can be likened to that of a sprouting plant in process of developing deep roots for a stable and fruitful life in the Congregation. …

For St. Vincent, the spirituality of the Congregation, and life in community – as well as the pronouncing of the vows – were intended to serve the mission: “following Christ evangelizing the poor.” Our internal seminary, therefore, provides seminarians with opportunities to experience and reflect upon the interplay of Christ-centeredness, prayer, life together, and dedicated service. They begin to live wholeheartedly the Vincentian way of being “contemplatives in action.”

During this year something else took root for Walner.  “I have been also surprised by the great joy found in the services of my apostolic work among the poor.”

The next stage

He is now ready to begin a new stage in his formation. Again, our official documents describe the next step in his journey.

The objective of Vincentian formation in the major seminary is to enable the student to bring a Vincentian perspective and the experience of Vincentian Life to his study of theology, life in community, and apostolic ministry so that he will be able to live the Vincentian charism at a deeper level.

With strong conviction and a deep faith in God, Mr. Diaz follows his childhood dream of helping the poor and the marginalized. “I have always been open to God’s will and doing whatever He shows me. I would like to be a good and faithful missionary, following the example of Jesus Christ, the evangelizer of the poor.”

Born in El Salvador and the youngest of seven children, Walner moved to the United States when he was 19 years old. In his years here he came to know Vincentian Bishop Alfonso Cabezas. The gave him his first Miraculous Medal five years ago. Mr. Diaz warmly embraces the Vincentian tradition of having a strong devotion to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.

Our journeys

As he journeys along his path, we might also reflect on our own personal journeys. Our stages might be different. But each of us has the opportunity to deepen our relationship with Christ, the evangelizer of the poor. As we do, each of us will hopefully be surprised by joy as we commit our time, talent and treasure to walking in the footsteps of Vincent serving those on the margins.

A recorded video of the ceremony can be viewed in its entirety here: https://vimeo.com/284915681

To view more photos from this celebration, please visit our Flickr page here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmogyJ26