Fr. Socorro Fernandes, SACHeroic Priests
First of all, I am happy that the Lord called me to be a priest through the Pallottine Society where we are called to live a life of prayer, community and service. As members of this Congregation we have six promises, besides the three traditional promises of poverty, chastity and obedience our Founder St. Vincent Pallotti also wanted the members to make the promises of perseverance, the spirit of service and the sharing of resources. We are called to constantly remind ourselves of who we are and what we are called to be. I have a great devotion towards our Founder and I intercede to him to guide me in my ministry.
My close relationship with Jesus and Mother Mary is what sustains and inspires me in my priesthood. At times He has surprised me through the graces that I have received even though unworthy. His love is amazing. There are times I have been amazed and surprised by ordinary people who go through so much in life and still have a strong faith, these people, too, have inspired me to be more devoted to my priestly life.
My Catholic upbringing and practicing of the catholic faith right from childhood and a constant encouragement from my mother made me think of becoming a priest. As I grew older I began to spend a lot of time in the church, helping in cleaning the church, gardening, sacristy works and altar serving. Besides my parents – my parish priest and Sisters of Missionaries of Charity were a great source of encouragement. All of these little, little things helped to shape me into the type of priest I am today. I attended vocation camps for altar servers since the 7th grade and this helped to keep me thinking along the lines of the priesthood. I continued to attend vocation camps year after year and joined the seminary after the 10th grade. Even now I don’t know what I would have been if I was not ordained a priest.
Prayer is the great source of my strength and grace and energy to continue with my priestly ministry. I have not given up on my Breviary, Rosary, of course Eucharist every day, and praying before the Blessed Sacrament, especially on Tuesdays as we have a day adoration at Our Lady of Loretto. The foundation of saying prayers was laid at home right from my childhood and I cannot give up on that.
During my 18 years as a priest I have served as an associate pastor, vocation promoter, formator in the Vocation Orientation Center, parish priest – all these roles were within 7 years of my ministry in India. In 2006 I was asked to minister in the United States. After ministering 4 years in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Long Island, NY, as an adjunct priest, I came to the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2010 where I was assigned as Pastor of Our Lady of Loretto. In 2013 I was added the responsibility of Pastor at St. Valentine Parish. Since 2011 I also served a term of 3 years as a coordinator for mission appeals for the Pallottines in India. I have had many wonderful experiences in all the places and positions I have ministered. God has been very gracious to me.
Fr. Socorro Fernandes is the pastor of St. Valentine and Our Lady of Loretto Parishes in Redford.