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Name: John Alain I. Carillo
Date of birth: June 19, 1979
Favorite saints: St. Maximillian Kolbe and Mother Teresa of Calcutta
My vocation story like any other vocation story, I believe, began in the heart and mind of God. It started long before I was born, long before I was made aware of it, and long before I accepted it.
I was baptized John Alain Ilarina Carillo on June 29, 1979 just ten days after I was born in Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines. My parents Leodegario H. Carillo Jr. and Jesseline I. Carillo were proud and happy to have their third child of five baptized that day. They gave me a name that I consider to be God’s concrete manifestation of His enduring and incessant calling. It means “A cart carrying God’s goodness and beauty.” I believe that I am a “cart,” called to be an instrument of God’s goodness and beauty to others. This might sound odd, but it has always been a source of inspiration for me and a constant reminder of God’s love. It entails the mission, purpose, meaning and goal for my life.
I entered the Seminary in the Philippines at the age of thirteen and stayed there for eleven years. It occurred to me, however, that during those long years I had become overly accustomed and dependent on the Seminary and its structures. It became my comfort zone and it overshadowed my purpose and goal. After a difficult discernment process, I decided to leave the Seminary and live a life of a “common” man immersed in the world. It was a painful decision and a humbling experience. But I believed that if I was to become Christ’s minister and witness for His people, I needed to understand them better by becoming one with them in their joys and sufferings, in their hopes and failures, in their wealth and poverty, in their belief and unbelief (but without forgetting who I am and what I am for).
In my seven years outside the seminary working as a high school teacher, I found God continually renewing His call to me, and myself gradually claiming it. I am grateful to my family, friends, co-workers, and students who accompanied me and prayed with me in that time. Now, with a deeper insight and a more mature faith, I have said my “Yes” to God. Not because I am worthy of it, but rather, I believe I am better prepared to bear His goodness and beauty so that He may be glorified through me and my ministry.