Fr. James Arriola


‘The forgotten one’

Father James Arriola, 28, was born in a U.S. military base in Japan, the third of seven children who range in age from 33 to 10. His family is from Guam, and they moved back there when his father retired from the U.S. Navy. James was 4. He admits he felt a little lost after graduating from high school.

Currently Fr. Arriola is Parochial Vicar at Mother of Christ Catholic Parish.

“I had ideas to get married, ideas to get a career. But nothing concrete.” Although he had joined a Neocatechumenal Way community at 13, “there wasn’t an inclination to the priesthood.”

Then he attended a retreat, and at the closing Mass, the priest preached: “If you feel a call, don’t be afraid. And what do you have to lose? I was thinking about my life and I thought, I have nothing to lose. Why don’t I try it?” Father Arriola recalled.

Neither the eldest nor the baby in his family, he said he often felt like “the forgotten one.” But now he realizes God “brought me to that point to show me that he loves me.” And once he experienced that love, “he showed me that this vocation is for me.”

He entered Blessed San Diego Luis de San Vitores Catholic Theological Institute for Oceania, which is affiliated with the Lateran University in Rome. When the Neocatechumenal Way’s Redemptoris Mater Seminary opened in Miami in 2011, he was chosen as one of its first 12 seminarians.

“I always felt called to go out to the missions and experience other places,” Father Arriola said. About his vocation, he added: “It’s God showing his love for me so hopefully I can show his love to the world.”

He has been assigned to St. Katharine Drexel in Weston.

Photographer: TOM TRACY | FC
Archbishop Thomas Wenski lays hands on James Arriola, ordaining him to the archdiocesan priesthood.

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