The Last Texan Priest?
or Will there ve More?
By Father Wayne Wilkerson
My name is Fr. Wayne Wilkerson. I am a native of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, as I was born in Pasadena, Texas in February '64. I recall at my priestly ordination, Bishop Joseph Fiorenza introduced my class and we were all very unique. Two of my classmates were born in Vietnam. One is a native of the Philippines and one is from Massachusetts. When he introduced me, the bishop introduced me as a "Texan". I am proud to say that I have come from the soil that makes up our culturally rich and diverse diocese. My roots are firmly planted in the Houston-Bay area. When asked where I come from, I proudly say "Pasadena"!
As a son of German lineage, I was baptized and formed in the Lutheran tradition. It was my maternal grandfather who first instilled in me the importance of serving God and neighbor as an ordained minister. My journey to priesthood began in 1981 at the age of 17. I was introduced to Catholicism and began my process of conversion. However, in 1983, at the age of 19, I made my profession of faith and entered into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church at St. Pius V in Pasadena. It was here that I first began to discern my grandfather's urgings and my call to serve God as an ordained priest of Jesus Christ. I can certainly say that the people of God in that parish raised me. They were the voices that assisted God in calling out and naming my vocation. They, along with many others are my friends, my spiritual family who nurture and sustain my priesthood.
My home parish of St. Pius V is a diocesan parish located in the diocese of Galveston-Houston. The choice for me to serve as a diocesan priest was a simple one. I came from this soil and the people who live here are my people — therefore, to serve them is to serve those who have sent me. I can certainly think of many places in Texas and the United States that are more beautiful settings in which to live, but I cannot imagine a people who are more beautiful and faith-filled than those of the first diocese of Texas, our Galveston-Houston diocese. I am eternally grateful for the men who have given themselves to serve God in our diocese who are foreign born and have learned to love our people as their own. Yet we need more priests who are the diocese of Galveston-Houston. Who will be next? Will it be you?
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