BUILDING BRIDGES BETWEEN COMMUNITIES –
Reflections on Fr. Toribio Gutierrez, C.M.
In the Archdiocese of Los Angles each year there are some pastors and associate priests that receive new assignments to new parishes. Such was the case for Fr. Toribio Gutierrez in the summer of 2014. From what I have witnessed, Fr. Toribio is truly a “bridge builder” between the English and Spanish speaking communities. Within a few short months he has made substantial progress on bringing together both these communities within the parish of St. Paschal Baylon. Fr. Toribio’s sincere, holy, and happy ways are enhancing both the English and Spanish communities while building a bridge towards greater participation in each others’ Masses, events and cultural experiences.
Fr. Toribio was originally from Mexico and named by his mother after the brave martyr Fr. Toribio Romo who died for his faith at the age of 27 in 1928. It should be noted that Fr. Toribio Romo is now a saint and considered a hero to millions of Mexican Catholics. Our current day Fr. Toribio, like Fr. Toribio Romo, has endeared himself to the people of his community. Fr. Toribio brings the life of Jesus, his holy works and sacrifice to current times through his homilies, work and humble manner. This modern and holy priest, is a reflection of the happiness he feels in his faith and the priesthood. For English and Spanish speaking alike, his homilies teach, inspire and enlighten all to live a stronger and more joyful faith.
In just a few short months at the parish of St. Paschal Baylon, Fr. Toribio Gutierrez has shown his support of a number of parish ministries. These include the RCIA program, the Religious Education program that includes English and Spanish speaking teachers, the parish school and the events of the Hispanic community. With dedication and care, week by week his English improves and he is able to give meaningful and inspirational homilies for the English masses. During his first Good Friday at the parish, Fr. Toribio was able participate in the traditional lengthy readings.
This holy priest continues to build that bridge and bring communities together. Many hope that Fr. Toribio continues as an associate of St. Paschal Baylon for many years to come. This priest wants to see good, happy and Christian values. He inspires both the English and Spanish speaking communities to seek just that, and to make a positive difference in their parish community.
May he continue to build this great bridge and inspire others as well.