Trail’s Catholic church is rejoicing that the Kootenays have gained a new candidate for priesthood.
But prior to becoming a priest, Cerlouie Jimenez will be ordained a transitional deacon and then continue his journey locally, a feat that hasn’t been achieved since Trail’s own Father Jim Lynch was ordained as a priest in 1963.
“During the past 50 years, in our own area and throughout North America and other parts of the world, the Roman Catholic Church has experienced a tremendous decline in priestly and religious vocations,” explained Maureen Wiley, of Our Lady Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Trail.
“This situation has been of serious concern to the faithful. As a result, Catholic people have been hoping and praying earnestly for vocations, especially during these more recent decades.”
Born and raised in the Philippines, Jimenez entered seminary in 1998 at 16 years old. With an initial interest in becoming a religious friar, he studied philosophy and some theological training at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas from 1998 until 2006.
He then decided he wanted a change and left the seminary to visit family in Canada, where he happened to meet Father George Pfliger, a priest of the Nelson Diocese.
With an invitation to become a parish priest for the Nelson Diocese, Jimenez was accepted by the bishop and resumed further studies in theology at Newman Theological College and St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton.
Once ordained a deacon – a person who assists priests with their pastoral and administrative duties but reports to a bishop – Jimenez will work at the OLPH Catholic Church in Trail.
As a deacon, he will officially be able to witness holy matrimony, may preside at funeral rites not involving a mass, may preach the homily and preside over various services.
But he will not be able to hear confession and give absolution, anoint the sick or celebrate mass until he becomes a priest.
Jimenez will be ordained by Nelson’s Most Rev. John Corriveau at tonight’s 7:30 p.m. mass.