March 10, 2021
Transitional Deacon Alfonso Coronado suffered the Texas Winter Storm at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston and says his experience brought him closer to God and others.
While El Paso got a lovely "White Valentine's Day", most of Texas was hit by a storm that left many without power, heat and water. Deacon Alfonso experienced a shortage of water and electricity in St. Mary’s Seminary for three days. “I had never experienced this type of cold, my bones were hurting,” Deacon Alfonso, who will be ordained to the priesthood in 2021, shared, “Initially I wasn’t scared of the storm because I had experienced El Paso’s winter weather.” He, like so many, would move from one crisis to another.
Deacon Alfonso was not able to use his computer and whenever he had the chance, he charged his cell phone in his car. Due to the high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, he was limited to 15 minutes at a time. He felt cut off from the outside world, unable to regularly update his family in Mexico or his El Paso support system. There was no way to shower and meals had to be organized to maximize what little access to natural gas the seminarians had. They developed ways to communicate by flash light and Alfonso let his family know that he was okay only when he briefly had wireless connection.
We've all gotten so accustomed to instant news and virtual connection, something that often sustains our seminarians and deacons who come from many different places. This experience left Alfonso feeling scared and isolated and that in turn forced him to be still and listen to God in the midst of the silence. He and is classmates turned to one another, they prayed together, engaged in more conversation, and they were physically present and able to support one another through their struggles.
It is during these life challenges that human beings often come through the darkness to flourish and demonstrate that God has made us resilient. Deacon Alfonso describes the silence as the “light silent sound” that the prophet Elijah experienced. He recommends that everyone who is experiencing any type of challenge or difficulty in their lives listen to God in the silence.
“But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret, and your Father who sees in the secret will repay you." — Matthew 6:6
Deacon Alfonso Coronado is in formation at St. Mary's Seminary in Houston, Texas and will complete his studies this spring. He will be ordained to the priesthood in 2021. The date and time will be forthcoming. Alfonso will be incardinated to the Diocese of El Paso which means he will serve in our diocese. These men have made a lifelong commitment to the Diocese of El Paso. We ask you to make a commitment to their formation through prayer and support.