ACI Prensa Staff, Apr 8, 2021 / 11:01 am America/Denver (CNA).
Luis Avagliano was married to his wife, Flora, for 38 years, but after her death almost seven years ago, he felt God’s call to the priesthood. He was ordained a priest on March 19, on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph.
The ordination took place at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in the Diocese of Quilmes, Argentina, where Avagliano has served as a permanent deacon and is now assigned as a priest.
Speaking to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner, the new priest said that his ordination Mass was “a profound and moving ceremony from beginning to end.”
Attending the Mass were Avagliano’s two children, who supported his decision to become a priest when he told them about it almost two years ago.
“One of them took off my diaconal stole, put the priestly stole on me, and between the two of them they put the chasuble on me,” said Avagliano.
The 68-year-old new priest said he was always close to God, growing up in a strong Catholic family in the La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires. He said that his parents gave him the love and care that served as an example for him when he began his own family.
When Avagliano was 15 years old, his father died. Three months later, his older sister also passed away. While this marked one of the most difficult periods of his life, he said faith in God and the support of his mother and other sister helped him endure.
“God never abandoned me, he gave me strength to help and support my mother…with her faith we carried on. We never stopped trusting in God. His strength cannot be explained, you feel it and experience it,” he said.
The priest said his mother handed on that faith to him ever since he was a child, because she always took him to Mass at Saint John the Evangelist parish, where he received the initial sacraments, was confirmed, and later got married and had his children baptized there.
Avagliano and his wife dated for four years before getting married when he was 23. After he finished school, he worked for almost 48 years, mostly as a public servant, and retired in 2020 during the coronavirus lockdown. During much of this time he served as a permanent deacon in his diocese.
On July 13, 2014, after 38 years of marriage, Flora passed away. Avagliano said he still feels her closeness to him.
“She is up above with God, but she is present in my life always. Just as she accompanied me throughout my earthly life, she continues to accompany me throughout her life in Heaven,” he said.
After his wife’s death, and following a period of discernment, Avagliano felt a call to the priesthood.
His ordination took place on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph in the Year of Saint Joseph. He said local Bishop Carlos José Tissera told him that this timing was no coincidence, because “like him you have experienced the beauty of love as a couple, the experience of marriage, the joy of being a dad; the responsibility of forming a home, the joy of expecting your children and their birth; the incomparable joy of the first babblings of a baby looking into your eyes and saying the most wonderful word: daddy.”
Avagliano said that the fact that God has called him to live out both vocations is a great commission and a great blessing that he takes up with joy.
“How beautiful it is to fulfill what the Lord asks of you and to be open to that disposition to be able to open your heart so that He can enter in, can transform you, can guide you, can enlighten you, can accompany you,” he said.
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