Facebook ‘like’ leads to vocation for Crosier brother

In 2010, Crosier Brother Daniel Hernandez’s sister died after dealing with health issues most of her life.

“I needed to center myself again in what I was doing, what my goals were and the meaning of life,” Brother Daniel said. “So, I would sit before God and reach out for God to help me, to codify my life.”

What happened next led him to his vocation, first as a Crosier brother and now soon to be a Crosier priest. His ordination is set for July 9 at Holy Cross in Onamia.

Brother Daniel Hernandez will be ordained to the priesthood July 9. (photo courtesy of the Crosier Fathers and Brothers)

Back then, he coped with the loss of his sister by serving his home parish in Tlaxcala, Mexico. He was especially drawn to a small faith community, and it became his main ministry.

“It’s a small community where lay people come together every week for three hours to pray together, share life and learn from one another how God is working in their lives,” Brother Daniel said. “So that was kind of the beginning of my vocation,” he said.

That experience was instrumental in his understanding of community, he said.

During this time, he also was working on a college degree in computer science. It was his mother’s request that he finish college before pursuing the possibility of religious life. After college, he started working for a software development business. The company wanted to send him for more training, but he struggled because he felt the call to discern a religious vocation.

Then he broke his ankle when he was home for the holidays.

“That was, for me, the sign from God — like ‘stop this, you don’t go anywhere,’” he said. “You will stay here, spend this time with your family, and then I have work for you.”

While he recovered, he thought more about his vocation and whether he would like to be a diocesan priest or join a religious community. He decided he wanted to live in community, so he did some internet research and found the Crosiers on Facebook.

“I did give a ‘like’ to the Crosier cross, and that was the click. That was for me the moment the conversation started,” he said.

He met the Crosier superior, Father Tom Enneking, and another member of the order in Mexico City for a retreat where they answered his questions about the order.

“They explained their work and we prayed and ate together,” Brother Daniel said. “For me, when I was with them, the prayer was again very meaningful for me. That’s what I wanted.”

He thought it would be a struggle to make the arrangements to come to the U.S., but everything fell into place. His employer even told him that if things didn’t work out, he was welcome to come back.

He arrived in Phoenix and felt very welcomed, he said. After spending some time at the Crosier priories in Phoenix and Onamia, Brother Daniel reluctantly returned to Mexico to continue discerning.

He returned to his job at the software development company for a few months but missed the Crosiers. He officially entered the community in 2014, professed first vows in 2015 and solemn vows June 25, 2021.

He is currently the associate director of the novitiate program for the order, so he accompanies new novices throughout their two years of formation. He also helps out at WOHVn in Faith Catholic Community, the newly formed Area Catholic Community that includes Holy Cross in Onamia, Sacred Heart in Wahkon, St. Rita in Hillman and St. Therese in Vineland. He will take on a larger role there after his ordination.

“Once I finished my novitiate and they sent me to study theology at St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary, it was clear that I was going to pursue priesthood,” he said.
“I feel I’m called to celebrate the sacraments and build community, to bring the risen Christ in that way to the people,” he said.

He wanted to pursue ordination after his solemn profession of vows, so he asked his religious superior and other community members for their feedback and recommendations. They welcomed his request and were confident he would be a good priest. “So, I would say it’s not just me but also my brothers’ feedback and encouragement that supports my call to serve the people of God as a priest,” he said.

Author: Dianne Towalski

Dianne Towalski is a multimedia reporter for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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