Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 14, 2008
Salvadoran evangelizer forced to flee persecution at home
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
Jose Huezo was once in the crosshairs of Salvadoran death squads.
By LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WCR News Editor
His fellow Catholic evangelizer was slaughtered for his faith. Still Jose Huezo kept sharing the Good News in his El Salvador homeland.
"There was persecution: It was a deep experience to keep working under the persecution," recalls Huezo. "It is not that I am a super Christian, but that I experienced what the power of God is giving me - the strength to cope with situations like that."
The 58-year-old mechanical/metallurgical technologist tells this story as he describes his profound faith path that has led him to become a deacon in the Archdiocese of Edmonton.
"My faith journey started back in 1977 through a retreat in El Salvador."
That time of peace spent listening to God allowed a cementing of his faith and calling and Huezo "lived my conversion and started journeying with my faith in difficult times."
His path was the charismatic proclamation of the Gospel.
"Slowly, slowly I became involved with evangelization to the point I was part of the national team."
That also put him in the crosshairs of the El Salvadoran death squads.
Huezo's brown eyes cloud with distant memories as he says, "It was a risky time. It was a time that to be a Catholic and to be an evangelist Catholic let them label you as a communist."
So he and his six brothers and sisters escaped, immigrating to Canada in 1982.
"And I started my journey helping people proclaiming the Gospel.
"I am with Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is a small but fully alive church. I enjoy helping groups -- Marriage Encounter, charismatic, helping wherever I can.
"That was when I felt my call to the diaconate.
"That was a spark in my life, I said, 'Yes, this is my call.'"
His work took him to Calgary and he completed two years of the deacon's program there.
But when the diaconate program started in Edmonton, "Archbishop Collins said, 'Jose, now is the time for you to come back to Edmonton.'
"And I asked, 'What happens to my two years?'"
He was told, "You keep it in your pocket. It will help you in the future.
"In the beginning I felt kind of bitter spending those two years of my life. But eventually I came to realize the more I receive, the more I have to offer. The six-year formation for me has been a blessing, definitely a blessing."
But what about his family?
He and his wife Victoria have four children Clauda, 32, Lucy, 30, Carlos, 28, and Fatima, 26.
"They have been right behind me, supporting me and enjoying it," Huezo assures. "They have been involved in this environment from birth."
As he reflects back on his four years of preparation, two aspects of the diaconate program resonate with him.
"The academic part of the course was really good, really good. We were so blessed to have probably the best teachers we could probably get. Excellent. Excellent formation."
And then there were his fellow students.
"With the time spent, we developed such a close community with each other - that definitely is a plus. I know that I have another 11 brothers, that I can lean on them and they will support me."
Huezo approaches his new mission with delight and enthusiasm.
"More and more clearly I can see what the deacons can do at this point in the history of the Church. We will be able to go places, to make the Church present, be with the marginalized people of society."
He welcomes his role of helping the priest. "They are definitely over-loaded.
"I see a very exciting future ahead."