By: Br. Jhoni Chamorro, SDB
Salesian of Don Bosco
For those who still remember me, I left California in June 2019, 2 years ago. I flew to Nicaragua after 11 years of not seeing my mom and my brothers. As you probably can imagine that brought about many feelings I had after such a long absence. It felt weird going back to my home country. So much had changed not just in Nicaragua, but with me as well, especially hearing from others say that I was speaking with a strange accent after learning and speaking so much English..haha! I was able to spend some time at home with my mom and my brother, who’s sick
Let me share with you what soon became a long journey, applying for a Mexican visa. What was supposed to be something so simple to allow me go to Mexico to begin my theology studies, turned into a much longer process than expected. Attempt after attempt was made to obtain the visa, but I was told over and over again that there was always something missing in the documentation that I had to present to get the visa. Even through this adversity, I appreciated the support of Father Ted and Father Tim Ploch who were always aware of the situation. Father Tim was in the process of his visitation in Nicaragua, told the provincial of the Central American region to let me move to the salesian community in Granada that is 2 blocks from my mom’s house. I was able to spend a good amount of time there feeling welcomed by the brothers and the staff, many of whom still remembered “little Jhoni.” While I was there my heart was so overwhelmed with joy when Father Many Gallo from the Eastern Province was doing his annual missionary trip with kids and staff from Don Bosco Prep and also kids from Don Bosco parish in New York came to celebrate mass at the salesian school in Granada. It was felt so overwhelming to see Father Manny and also be introduced by him as a Salesian from the Western Province, and then be invited to be with them for the rest of the trip.
In April, after so many failed attempts applying for the visa, I was lucky to finally get it. But in the following days the Nicaraguan international airport was closed due to Covid. Imagine my frustration, but because of this unfortunate delay, I had the opportunity to celebrate the novena to Mary Help of Christians in Nicaragua. For me, these were days to give thanks to her for always being my good mother, taking care of me and guiding me in my journey. We are always moved by hope and at the end of July, a Salesian from Nicaragua, Father Foster, told me about charter flights to Mexico. I contacted the Mexican embassy and they told me to contact Aeromexico to find out more. I did and by a miracle they had scheduled their next flight on August 15th! Once again, I believe Mary was with me. I took that flight and arrived in Guadalajara on August 16th, the birthday of Don Bosco.
Since then, I have felt the community of Tlaquepaque as my home and everyone has treated me as a brother. Classes have been challenging but with the good discipline and the great professors we have including two former professors from the UPS, Father Jose Luis Plasencia and Father Rafael Vicent, there is always enjoyable moments to learn more. As you can see in the pictures I’m sharing. Also being the only one representing the Salesian Western Province, I had the chance to share with the rest of the international theologians some of the big holidays in America such as Thanksgiving and the 4th of July. These days before I came to Nuevo Laredo, I had the opportunity to be part of the retreat/workshop Guadalajara hosts for those in preparation to perpetual profession. It was a large group of us from different nationalities that made the experience richer, both theologates hosted students from the different provinces.
Now these days, I had the chance to attend a summer camp in Nuevo Laredo, and on Sunday the 18th, I renewed my profession for one year. The Director and the community took the opportunity to use my renewal as a promotion for vocations since there is a large crowd of young people in attendance at the 8pm mass in the oratory. Father Jose Lucero was one of my witnesses. He came over from Laredo, Texas with Brother Kris to see me and be present also. This is one of the reasons why I love my province and confreres. Please keep me in your prayers as I continue to pray for all of you.