By Manuel Brochero Garavito
1 st Theology, Mount Saint Mary Seminary
I LOVE JESUS! These words bring me back to the moment I realized how much I love Jesus. It reminds me of a story Father Richard Ricard, pastor of my home parish, Blessed Sacrament in Rockville-Tolland, said in one of his homilies. There was a man who, in spite of a destructive
house fire, risked his life for his collection of CDs about Jesus. When asked why he risked his life, he answered with certainty, “Because I LOVE JESUS!”
I am Dharen Brochero, Seminarian of the Diocese of Norwich. I am finishing my first year of theology at Mount Saint Mary Seminary. I am a native from Saint Sebastian, Colombia. I am 25 years old and am the second and last son from my parents’ marriage.
Thinking about my vocation is like the story of the selfless man and his love for Jesus. My vocation is the result of a fire. Not a house fire, but the overwhelming fire of the Holy Spirit in which I unwaveringly acknowledged, I LOVE JESUS! The prayers of my grandmother and the
presence of great priests both helped me to hear the call.
I became an altar server at 14 because I thought my parish pastor was young and “cool.” I was also able to travel with him around the more than 20 villages even in uncomfortable times of flooding. I remember how despite the rising waters, the villagers would stand in water up to their
knees, singing so joyfully to the Lord and grateful to us for being there.
One day my pastor, Father Romero, asked me about my future. I told him I wanted to be a medical doctor. He said, “You have a calling to be a priest, which I have observed in our travels and missions to the villages.” I told him, “I want to heal wounded and sick people,” and he replied, “You have all that is needed to heal peoples’ souls.” Later, that Holy Thursday, I considered the words of Father Freddy.
Moved by the Holy Spirit, I exclaimed: I LOVE JESUS! At that moment I had a feeling of deep joy in my heart. It was Jesus saying “yes” to me after I said I love Him. I graduated from high school in 2011 at the age of 16, and then took a year off to think about my vocation. Finally, through Father Romero’s guidance, I decided I wanted to be a missionary.
Father helped me find a good seminary school, where I started my formation to the priesthood in 2013. Then, in 2015, a priest friend decided to challenge my vocation and offer me the opportunity to serve the Church in a more challenging area, America. I was not sure, but he insisted this could be God’s will and I was fighting against Him like I did as a teenager.
I followed his advice and interviewed with Father Greg Galvin, Sister Jude, Father Robert “Bob” Washabaugh and Father Henry Agudelo. It was scary, but they gave me confidence through their wise questions. I came to America with (now) Father Castiblanco, studied English for two years
in the Diocese, and lived at St. Bernard and St. Matthew Church, now Blessed Sacrament Parish, under the guidance of Father “Rick” Ricard. The Diocese has been my new “Colombia,” my home parish, my new home, and its parishioners, my new family. I moved to Maryland to finish my philosophical studies and graduated in 2019, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Then, I moved on to Theology in the same year and received candidacy in November. Many people, some in Heaven, have shaped my vocation. I am very grateful to Father Rick, my pastor and mentor, as well as other great priestly figures like Father Antonelle, Father Lapointe, Father Bob, Father Oleisk, Father Ellis, deacons Ron and Michael Berstene, and my former summer pastors.
Father Greg, my vocation director, has been very warmhearted, and he always lifts up my spirit when I feel troubled. He helps to keep me moving toward my priestly goal. Bishop Cote has shown me how valuable I am to God and to the Church. This is a great mission for me and being
in the Diocese of Norwich makes me always say, even during times of trouble: I LOVE JESUS!