Take 5 with Father: faith builder
HE IS: Father Francisco Alanis Gonzalez, CORC, pastor of Holy Name Parish in Fort Worth since January 15.
He has also served at parishes in southern California, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.
ORDAINED: July 14, 2003 “at the feet of Our Lady of Guadalupe” in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.
GROWING UP: The eighth of nine children, Father Francisco Alanis Gonzalez grew up in Mante City in northeastern Mexico.
A FAITH-FILLED FAMILY: “I saw my mom every day with a rosary in her hands and I caught my vocation from the Lord by her praying the Rosary.” She took the children to daily Mass (where young Francisco was an altar server) and to see the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament regularly. A cousin and his nephew are Benedictine priests.
A DIFFERENT PATH: How often did Fr. Alanis Gonzalez think about becoming a priest while he grew up? “Never,” he said. In fact, he earned a degree in architecture, started a construction firm, had a girlfriend, and owned a house.
THE CALL: When Fr. Alanis Gonzalez was 28, a priest invited him to go on a retreat, and he reluctantly attended. But at the retreat, he stood in front of the crucifix and asked, “Lord, if you did that for me, what can I do for you?”
He thought he would give the Lord his surplus time and money, but “the Lord chose me another way.” Six months later, he entered the seminary.
ON BEING A CORC: Fr. Alanis Gonzalez joined a missionary order because “I like to help in different places and with all the different people.”
BEST PART OF BEING A PRIEST: “Confession is a strong gift of grace for me and for the people. Anointing of the sick is another strong moment.”
LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN COME: Fr. Alanis Gonzalez also enjoys “sharing my faith with the little guys and girls” and visits religious education classes four days each week. He’s pleased with the parish’s large number of altar servers — 72— because he believes they are “the future of vocations to the priesthood.”
MOVING FORWARD: “I like to walk. While I am walking, I am thinking of homilies or talks to parishioners, and I put in order my ideas, and after that I sit and prepare.”
FAVORITE SAINT: His namesake, St. Francis, is special to him, especially his mission to rebuild the church. “As an architect, I tried to rebuild the construction, the building, but also, the interior of the persons now.”
NORTH OF THE BORDER: Fr. Alanis Gonzalez has spent most of his 15 years as a priest serving the Hispanic population in the U.S. He said the Hispanic people “will sustain the faith in the U.S. They need the Lord. They feel comfortable and covered by the Church and the Lord. That’s why they look to the Lord, because they need Him.”
A PASSIONATE PRIEST: “I love my priesthood. I love the people. I love the Lord. And I want to be close to Him in prayer. I pray the Rosary. I love the peace of the Lord and sit with Him, stay with Him.”