NAMES: Luz Elena Velázquez Alcantar and Saúl Alcantar Loza
PARISH: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Morris
OCCUPATION: Luz: I am a master of preschool education with a master of science degree in family education. For the moment, I’m dedicating myself to my home.
Saúl: I’m a veterinary zootechnician and work at Prairie Gold Farms Inc. in Hancock.
PASTIMES: Luz: I love being a volunteer, which I’ve done for seven years, since we came here. In the early years, two friends and I met in a park and taught Spanish classes. For several years I’ve volunteered at the Pre-K level of the elementary school in the Morris area. Last year I volunteered in faith formation with youth preparing for confirmation in my Morris parish. Due to the pandemic that has not been possible. But the pandemic helped me to recognize a new talent — I love baking.
Saúl: I like to spend free time with my family.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY.
Luz: I’m Mexican, born in the state of Jalisco. I met Saúl when we were both 18 years old. After being engaged for six years, we got married in August 2004 in my hometown, San Miguel Cuyutlán. I remember it vividly and that makes me very happy. In 2005, I obtained a position in the federal government as a preschool teacher. I don’t work in that field now since we live here in Minnesota.
In April 2007 we became parents to a beautiful girl named Abigail, which is the most wonderful experience in the world. Abi is now 13 years old, in eighth grade at the high school. She has good grades, plays the saxophone and clarinet in the school band and jazz band and is part of her school’s basketball team.
In June 2013 our second child, a son named Josemaría, was born. At 7 years old, he likes to run, read, play with Legos and draw. He won first place in the drawing contest organized annually by the Morris Fire Department. Josemaría practices the sport of wrestling at his elementary school in Morris. He is also preparing to celebrate his first Communion this May. We are very proud and blessed with our children. We’ve taught them our love for our Catholic faith and love and respect for those around us. My children have big hearts.
Saúl: I’m also Mexican, born in the state of Pachuca, Hidalgo. We have been married for 16 years — daily we pray to God that he continues to bless our marriage and help us educate our children the best ways possible.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR PARISH COMMUNITY?
Luz and Saúl: That we have our Mass in Spanish and that we have a good shepherd as our leader, Father Todd Schneider, who has guided us, listened, helped and strengthened our faith during these years since we’ve settled in Morris.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PRAYER?
Luz: The Holy Rosary and the prayer of St. Michael the Archangel.
Saúl: The prayer of St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer and the Our Father.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE SAINT AND WHY?
Luz: St. Michael the Archangel is my favorite because he is the patron of my people and his prayer is so powerful that it protects us from all evil. With the balance and sword that he holds in his hands, he teaches us that there is a divine justice. St. Michael’s name means “Who is like God.”
Saúl: St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer is the founder of Opus Dei. In his prayer he teaches us that through professional work and ordinary human duties we can reach holiness.
NAME A WAY YOU LIVE YOUR FAITH IN YOUR DAILY LIFE.
Luz and Saúl: We attend Mass every week to thank God for all the good as well as the bad in our lives and understand this has helped us learn. We pray the Holy Rosary daily as a family, thanking God for all his blessings and asking for family, community and world needs. This is our communion with God because only he gives us the fullness, the strength and the peace that we need in our hearts.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO GIVE A VOICE AND SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES OF FAITH WITH OTHERS?
Luz and Saúl: How wonderful is God our Almighty Father, who has never let go of our hands when we have felt sadness and pain. God is merciful to all his children. We are very blessed in our marriage, with our children and with absolutely everything we have. We thank God for his immense goodness, for his infinite love and for all the blessings we’ve received. We want to share this good news.