My name is Vicente Tomaz, I’m 38 years old and I’m from São Paulo. I belong to a Catholic family, who raised me in the faith. At age 16, I experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) group.
The experience with the Holy Spirit led me, later, to a strong experience with Jesus present in the Eucharist (I feel that my vocation had already dawned there), where I felt personally loved and chosen by him, which generated in me a deep thirst of God and a growing desire to offer myself, which I could do for about four years with the CCR of the Diocese of Santo Amaro, in various ministries, especially with the former Marcos Secretariat, which is responsible for working with youth.
I want to be like this!
During this period of intense apostolate with the youth in my diocese of origin, I was also able to get to know the Shalom Catholic Community, taking part in contemplative house retreats, taking basic formation courses in a parish, attending community events and attending the Evangelization of the Shalom Community of Santo Amaro. I gradually realized that I had a great identification with the Shalom charism, with its way of praying, living fraternity and evangelizing. I would look at the members of the Living Community and say to myself, “I want to be like this!”
In 2003, I joined the Shalom Community of Life, being sent to live my postulancy in Fortaleza, in the neighborhood of Fatima. The initial formation had its continuity in the Discipleship of Pacajus and, later, in Brasilia, city where I could also make my first promises. Returning to Fortaleza, in 2007, I began to serve in the General Government of the Community. After two years of intense contact with the seminarians and priests of the Community, especially Fr Francisco Almeida, whom I had the joy of supporting as secretary, I realized that the Lord was also calling me to the priesthood.
Father of the Community
My entrance in the seminary course took place in 2009. In the midst of an intense work with the young people of the Shalom Work in Fortaleza, I was able to live my philosophical studies, which lasted three years, at the Catholic College of Fortaleza. I then lived a two-year pastoral internship at Quixadá Discipleship, a very enriching experience that taught me many things, especially how to feel more “Father of the Community”.
My theological studies also took place in Fortaleza. During this time I was able to serve in the General Diakonia of the Community, in Missionary Assistance, where once again I could be built by the pastoral care exercised in favor of the missionaries of the Community.
“Let your priests put on righteousness, and your faithful men rejoice in joy.” This verse from Psalm 131 has always accompanied me on my path of priesthood formation. Today, exercising diaconal ministry in the Shalom mission of the city of Aquiraz (Ceara), I see God’s provident and merciful hands working on me as never before, that I may “clothe” myself and thus be the cause of joy and exultation to His beloved people. It comforts me greatly to experience that not only does the ordained minister carry out the ministry, but also that the generous exercise of ministry “makes” the minister holier.
Fruitful priestly ministry
The motto I have chosen for my future priestly ministry is a prayer of Saint Teresa of Lisieux: “I offer myself to Merciful Love.” I am convinced that I have been very merciful in my life and, through the priesthood, I hope to be able to repay this grace by giving boundless mercy.
Full of confidence and gratitude, I also want to entrust myself to the prayers of all those brothers who come to read these words so that I may exercise a fruitful priestly ministry through the holiness of life.
Em Jesus e Maria,
Vicente Tomaz de Souza Junior
Translation: Jhoanna Climacosa