Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 14, 2008
Marriage Encounter led him to serve the Lord
Persecution in El Salvador brought Amadors to Alberta
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
Mila Amador has been a strong supporter for her husband Mauricio as he prepared to become a deacon.
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Mauricio Amador says God began calling him to the diaconate 25 years ago. That's when he joined the Marriage Encounter Movement back in his native El Salvador and found the Lord.
"I consider my ordination as a deacon to be the result of my involvement with (Worldwide) Marriage Encounter," he says matter-of-factly. "It was through this movement that I made my commitment to be with the Lord and to serve the Lord."
His decision to become a deacon is much more recent. It came seven years ago following an encounter with former Edmonton Archbishop Thomas Collins at Newman Theological College, where he was taking the Formation for Pastoral Service program. Collins approached Amador, 53, and invited him to consider the vocation.
The father of four felt honoured but decided to find out more before making a commitment. After attending two informational meetings, he took the plunge.
The fact he was one of 12 selected for the four-year diaconate program had a huge impact on him. "I consider myself chosen by God (to be a deacon)," he said candidly, his face beaming with joy. "I think God chose me for some reason."
When the program started four years ago Amador feared he would be segregated because of his ethnicity but, on the contrary, he was welcomed with open arms. "We formed a very solid group," he noted.
The studies proved hard for Amador but his daughter Sarita, 24, came to the rescue, helping translate texts and type his homework.
"It was hard but right now I feel in the clouds," he said, smiling. "I feel very light. I feel so happy."
His wife Mila attended many of the program sessions and believes Amador will be a good deacon.
Why? "He is a man who loves God and likes to serve others, especially the needy," she said. "He always wants to bring God to those who don't know him and he is a good husband, a good father and a good son."
Amador's faith journey began 25 years ago in San Salvador when he and his wife went on a Marriage Encounter weekend.
"We had a special encounter with Jesus and from that day we started to be real Catholics; the weekend changed our lives completely," he explained.
Soon, the Amadors began working with couples through Marriage Encounter. Next, they joined the charismatic renewal, spent time in Guatemala learning evangelization techniques and then trained people in their parish to evangelize. "We went to evangelize house by house, knocking on many doors," Amador recalled.
It was a fulfilling time for the Amadors but persecution of suspected leftists was rampant in El Salvador during the 1980s with many being arrested and killed. He worked as a lab technician at the National University of El Salvador where persecution was especially acute. The army visited his home a couple of times.
In 1988, with a heavy heart, Amador and his family left El Salvador to join his parents and siblings who had earlier escaped to Edmonton.
Since arriving here Amador, an insurance broker, has been involved in several ministries at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.
The Amadors train people to lead Marriage Encounter weekends, take Communion to the sick and elderly, and visit couples facing marriage difficulties. "After we were rescued as a couple, we decided to help anybody that needs our help. If somebody is calling you, it is because they need you."
When the Amadors came to Edmonton in 1988 there was no Marriage Encounter in Spanish so they organized one. They also organized a Spanish Marriage Encounter in Calgary.