Education: I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Religion, a Bachelor of Science in Human Services and a Master of Science in Human Services. Presently I am completing a Master of Social Work degree at Fordham University and a Master of Arts in Religion degree at Reformed Theological Seminary. The MSW and MAR are part of a double major program. (What was I thinking?) Two more years and I’ll be done, then on to a Master of Divinity.
Family: Mom (Ann) and Dad (John) live in Queens in the house where I grew up. They are active in the parish where I attended Elementary School and celebrated Baptism, First Confession, First Communion and Confirmation. My sister (Carole) lives in Pennsylvania with my brother-in-law (Eric) my four nieces(Christina, Ashley, Erika and Samantha)and my nephew (John).
I have a wonderful goldfish who always listens to my homilies, sermons and lessons. Sometimes (s)he helps me study for my theology exams. His/her name is FISH since I can’t tell if (s)he is a boy or a girl.
What my spouse (really) thinks of my sermons: Could listen to me all day! (No wonder I am single!)
Best advice given to me about preaching: Be yourself and try not to imitate another person in their style, delivery or approach.
Books that have had an impact: There are so many books that have made an impact on my life but these are the most recent (and the ones I can remember): Night by Elie Wiesel; The Autobiography of Malcolm X; Don’t be Afraid Gringo: The Story of Elvia Alvarado; The Upside Down Kingdom by Donald Kraybill; The Church and the Homosexual by John J. McNeill; Becoming A Man by Paul Monette; Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas; Muy Macho:Latino Men Confront Their Manhood Edited by Ray Gonzalez; Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky; On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross;
Praying Our Goodbyes by Joyce Rupp, OSM; How Can I Find God? Edited by James Martin; Conversaciones: Relatos por padres y madres de hijas lesbianas e hijos gay Edited by Mariana Romo-Carmona.
Something funny that happened while preaching: Lights went out due to a thunderstorm. A congregant stood next to me with a candle to provide light and then bumped into me, pouring wax on the homily and my arm. In the process of telling me she was sorry, as I wanted to reassure her that it wasn’t a problem, I got too close to the candle and the page caught on fire. I gave up right there and we sang a song. (I had my guitar in the sacristy- convenient back up plan!)
What I want on my tombstone: Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit.