Father Francisco Valdovinos, S.T., was ordained a Trinity Missionary priest in 1994. He grew up in Mexico, in the town of Santa Ana in the state of Michoacán. When he was 17 years old, Trinity Missions took over the pastoral care of his parish. A few years later, Fr. Eugene Mueller, S.T., came to the parish, and took an interest in Francisco, who was by then a young adult with a job. He encouraged him to pursue a priestly vocation. But the young Francisco had to complete some schooling before he could enter the seminary in Mexico City. . . and the school was several hours from his home.
For many men of his age, the challenge would be too great, but Francisco was undaunted. He applied for a scholarship to the school and began several years of study. He had little money so during the week he shared a crowded room in a boarding house with three or four other male students. Much of the time, he slept on the floor. The school provided him with a mid-day meal, but evenings would find him on a park bench eating avocados, tomatoes and tortillas because they were inexpensive.
Since being ordained, Fr. Francisco has served on our missions in Puerto Rico; Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica; Tallahassee, Florida ; and in Compton, California, where he is now the pastor. His commitment, self-sacrifice, tenacity and faith are key to his helping this community of Our Lady of Victory parish to grow in size and in spirit.
People are inspired by him. “Thanks to Fr. Francisco, my family and I have learned to give back, we’ve changed!” says Salvador. Salvador, a member of Our Lady of Victory parish, cooks for the parish bake sale on Sundays. He has lived in Los Angeles for over 30 years. “I’m an alcoholic, but my life changed when I came to know Father Francisco,” he says. “When my sister was dying, he helped her through it with grace and dignity; he was there for our family. Through Father’s guidance, I have returned to God’s love and I’m sober.”
When he isn’t celebrating Mass, meeting with his parish staff and ministers, Fr. Francisco loves to spend time in his garden where he grows figs, avocados, celery, corn, tomatoes and chilies!