February 06, 2005

I enjoy being a Pastor

The New Mexican

HENRY M. LOPEZ | The New Mexican
February 6, 2005

When he was a boy, Jerome Martinez y Alire told his father he wanted to become a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. He remembers his father's words, which have served as an inspiration during his 29 years as priest.

"If you want to be a priest, I want you to be a damn good one," Martinez recalled with a laugh Friday. "So I have to live up to that and try and be a damn good priest."

Last Sunday, the 54-year-old was named monsignor, a title of honor demonstrating how far he had come to meet his father's expectation. The title monsignor is conferred on Catholic clergymen for outstanding service to the church.

Martinez becomes only the second priest in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe so honored in the last 40 years. And while it is Martinez who will be called monsignor, he said, the honor belongs to all the archdiocese priests who persevered during the past decade, when allegations of sexual abuse and their resulting lawsuits bludgeoned the church's image in the United States.

"The vast majority of priests kept their parishes together during all the crises by just being outstanding, hard-working men of God," Martinez said. "And that's why (last) Sunday I accepted this honor, not for me -- I don't count for much -- but for the all the priests."

Posted by kshaw at February 6, 2005 09:25 AM