Building the City of God: Father Jesús Bohorquez

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JESÚS BOHORQUEZ

Originally Published in March 2006
The son of Colombian parents, Father Bohórquez was born in Argentina on Oct. 25, 1972. He lived in Venezuela and Colombia before coming to the United States in 1988. He graduated from McArthur High School in Hollywood in 1990, and entered St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami six years later. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Miami in May, 2001. His mother died 24 days after his ordination. He has a sister who lives in Colombia and a brother who lives in Boston. His father lives in Miami. Before going to St. Jerome, he served at Epiphany Parish in South Miami.

What he did before becoming a priest:
He worked in many different trades, from cleaning offices to delivering pizzas to stripping and waxing floors to telemarketing (where he lasted only one day).

What he does on his days off:
“I make it a point to always visit my father: I try to at least eat one meal with him on my day off.”

Favorite movie:
“Contact” starring Jodie Foster

Favorite TV series:
“The Cosby Show” and “Home Improvement”

"I see how God transforms and that thrill is
more awesome than anything else in this life."

When he knew he wanted to be a priest:
He never really considered the priesthood seriously until a year or so before he entered the seminary, but he sees now “that was the end of a well-planned-by-God journey.” His family had always been very connected to the church and as a child he sometimes dreamed of preaching the word of God. At 18, he began to pray, “If it is your will that I become a priest, just show me. The answer was so obvious, so in my face, that I could not recognize it.” Finally, a good friend advised him to try it, reminding him that going into the seminary did not mean he would have to stay. When he first got there, he would wake up in the morning and ask himself, “What have I gotten myself into? But the initial fears and cautions became joyful assurance as the years passed.”

What he would be doing if he had not become a priest:
At first he thought of becoming a veterinarian, then an aerospace engineer, later a pilot

Greatest disappointment:
“There is so much hurt in my heart when, instead of being a ‘bridge’ (to the divine), I have been — in the way I relate to people, when I have been unfaithful to the call in my ministry or in the living of my Christianity — a ‘rock of stumble’ for people’s faith.”

Greatest joy:
“When I see the word of God and his grace working with all the force of his mercy, power and majesty in the lives of people who have the courage to receive it. … I see how God transforms and that thrill is more awesome than anything else in this life.”

Most difficult aspect of being a priest:
“The frustration I experience continuously is my incapacity to transmit my experience of faith… I see that the message of the Gospel cannot be explained or described. I have come to realize that the only way to share this Good News is to let God burn me and, as I am being consumed by that fire, allow the light of Christ to shine … then, get out of his way. … Letting God come through is my challenge, and many times, my frustration.”

Image of the ideal priest:
“A candle: As the priest allows God’s fire to consume him, that makes it possible for him to illuminate with the light of Christ. But that light will not shine if he is not willing to let the Gospel burn him and consume him little by little.”

Priestly stereotype that should be discarded:
“The priest as a mere professional — if the ministry is not embedded to my person, it is no priestly ministry at all.”

Father Bohorquez, far right, with his father, Francisco, his sister, María Carolina and his brother, José Luis. Although all three are wearing T-shirts that say Argentina, Father Bohorquez is the only one who was born there. His sister was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and his brother in Valencia, Venezuela.

Who was most surprised by his vocation:
“Me. … I dreamt of serving the Lord as a married man with children. … The Lord showed me in more and more powerful and evident ways that the way towards holiness — and thus, happiness — that he had chosen for me was the priesthood.”

Favorite type of music:
All types at different times: jazz, salsa, Colombian folkloric music, classical, Christian pop, merengue, Catholic and Protestant- Christian hymnody, liturgical, Gregorian.

Person he most admires:
“My mother, who is deceased and planted so many seeds of eternal life in my own life, and my father, who continues to give me a powerful example of integrity, love for life, and unshakable faith in the midst of trials. Also, the three saints which the Lord has given me as continuous sources of spiritual inspiration: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and St. Therese the Little Flower. Pope John Paul II is also in the bunch.”

Thing he most fears:
“To go astray from the will of God”