Name: Adrian Aragon
Date of birth: May 3, 1971
Hobbies/Interests: Painting religious icons, reading, papal history
Favorite Saints: St. Anthony of Padua, St. Faustina Kowalska, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Blessed Pope John Paul II
My name is Adrian Anthony Aragon and I was born on May 3, 1971 as the youngest of three children in the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. I have one sister and one brother with my sister being the eldest of the three. My hobbies and interests include icon painting, volunteering in various parish ministries, and exercising. I enjoy all of the above very much and especially feel that painting religious icons and involvement in parish ministries have helped to deepen my spirituality and knowledge of my Catholic Faith.
In July of 2007 I became acquainted with master santero Charles M. Carrillo. I expressed to him my interest in learning the traditional methods involved in retablo making. Retablos are images of Christ, Mary, and the saints that are painted on hand adzed wooden panels. Retablos are traditionally found in home altars, churches and moradas. Often the New Mexican retablo is mistaken for the Mexican retablo. The difference is that the Mexican retablo is typically done on copper or tin where as the New Mexico retablo is done on wood. The making of saints has been a time-honored tradition and integral part of New Mexico’s culture during the past three hundred years. In my work, my goal is to preserve and portray the traditional art form of Spanish Colonial retablo making. Spanish Market is the premier showcase for artists in this field and is sponsored by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society (SCAS). Competition to exhibit at Spanish Market is highly competitive; only a handful of exceptional artists are accepted annually. I made application to the SCAS three times and was unsuccessful in gaining admission to Spanish Market. After much prayer and thought, I decided to make a fourth and final attempt. With total credit given to God I was admitted to Spanish Market in 2008 and exhibited in Santa Fe for the first time in July of that year.
My own experiences in Church ministry have primarily involved being a Minister of the Word since 1986 at my parish. I say with all honesty that this ministry has taught me not only discipline but a greater respect and understanding for the inspired Word of God. And it truly is a humbling thought to know that the manner in which I present it to the People of God assembled at mass prompts me to do my very best to convey the comfort contained in the scriptures to those who may be struggling spiritually. Another ministry that has particular importance to me is in ministering to the sick. In caring for my mother I came to a greater understanding of the needs of those dealing with illness and how there is true dignity in suffering.
The priesthood is a sacred calling and not everyone has it. Do I have it? I would truly hope that it is God’s will for me but it is not an easy question to answer. I can say that from a very early age, around 12 or 13, I have sought to discover if God was calling me to the priesthood. I am fortunate to say that I was raised in a very Catholic family and had good examples of how to live a faithful and pious life. But to summarize, my discernment has been a journey that has taken me to many places near and far but whose roads always seem to converge on the same question: “Is God calling me to serve His people as a priest?” And my experiences lead me to believe that He is calling but it is up to me to answer. The time has come to answer and I feel that what I have seen and done in life has prepared me to now serve on a higher level. Unworthy as I am, I trust that God will give me the strength and courage to serve His people in the priesthood if that be His will.
I am currently enrolled in the Pre-Theology Program, 1st year, at St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park, CA.