Diocese celebrates priestly ordination Jan. 16
By Mary P. Walker
Bishop Joe Vásquez will ordain Deacon Everardo Cázares to the priesthood on Jan. 16 at 10:30 a.m. at St. John Vianney Parish in Round Rock. Although he grew up and received much of his formation in Mexico, Deacon Cázares, 33, accepted an invitation from the Diocese of Austin to become a seminarian, where he believes that God is calling him to serve.
“I have always referred to my vocation story as one of the simplest — the result of a natural process to meet and fall in love with God and his plan,” Deacon Cázares said.
Son of Everardo Cázares Valencia and the late Maria Graciela Acosta González, Deacon Cázares was born in Uruapan, Michoacán. He is the second of three children. His older sister and younger brother will attend the ordination. His extended family includes a number of priests and religious.
Deacon Cázares’ catechetical formation came from his family and at an institute served by the Marist Brothers. At times, his family prayed the rosary together, and had special devotions during the liturgical year. Active in church groups throughout his childhood, he remembers an intense feeling of the presence of Jesus when he made his first Communion. Through this experience, prayer and study, he decided to consecrate himself to God and try to follow him with an undivided heart.
When he graduated from high school, Deacon Cázares believed that he was called to the priesthood. Following the counsel of his family and spiritual director, who wanted to make sure that he would have solid career options if he were not ordained, he first got a degree in computer science from the Universidad Autonóma de Tamaulipas. He then studied philosophy at the Institute Don Luis Guizar Barragán, and received a bachelor’s and license in theology from the Pontifical University in Mexico.
To be ordained, he needed to be accepted as a seminarian for a diocese. Fathers Juan Carlos Lopez and Brian McMaster encouraged him to apply to the Austin Diocese, believing that Deacon Cázares’ Spanish-language skills and understanding of Mexican culture would be valuable in ministry.
Accepted by several dioceses, he faced a difficult choice. During his formation, he had met Mexicans who had been deported from the U.S. and had been moved by their stories. Wanting to help those who need Christ’s love in difficult circumstances and the fact that our diocese is the closest one to his home made him decide to come here.
In 2013, he joined the Austin Diocese as a seminarian, and has not only used his Spanish skills in ministry, but has also spent considerable effort in improving his English. He laughs when he explains that he had been under the misconception that Spanish was as prevalent in the Austin area as in the border towns! He quickly realized that he needed to upgrade his English skills.
After spending one year at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, he spent a pastoral year at Santa Cruz Parish in Buda, which he considers to be his home parish. Ordained a deacon last July, he is continuing his pastoral work at St. John Vianney Parish in Round Rock.
Regarding becoming a priest, Deacon Cázares said, “My main goal is to be a child of God — to live how God wants me to live. Becoming a priest to serve is what he is asking of me.” He hopes to help others discover their own vocation, which he believes naturally follows when we realize that we are beloved children of God and called to be holy.
The Mass of Ordination is Jan. 16 at 10:30 a.m. at St. John Vianney Parish in Round Rock. Cázares will celebrate Masses of Thanksgiving Jan. 17 at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Parish in Buda (in Spanish) and Jan. 24 at 8 a.m. at St. John Vianney Parish in Round Rock (in English).