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Sil Gomez strong from time in war, surviving cancer

Dominican-born Gomez serves country, parish as St. Edward Church's youth minister

Published: September 8, 2014   
Fran Presley
Silfida “Sil” Gomez is the youth minister at St. Edward Church in Texarkana.

Name: Silfida “Sil” Gomez

Parish: St. Edward

City: Texarkana

Family: Single

Why you want to know Sil: She is active at St. Edward, serving in the past on the Parish Life Committee, as leader of a Sunday study group and as a volunteer at the Outreach Center. She is now the parish’s youth minister. When she approached Father Paul Worm about getting more involved in the parish, he knew she was an answer to prayer. He said, “I knew Sil pretty well and knew she was bilingual. ... She seems a perfect fit, full of talent and enthusiasm.”

In her own words:

Arkansas Catholic’s theme this year is “Tools for Discipleship.” What religious items or tools do you rely on regularly to inform and inspire you?

I have been involved in CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish), where I met a lady who had read the Bible through. She inspired me to do the same. I developed a beautiful appreciation for the Bible. I love reading and read religious books as well as the Bible. I have a spiritual director, and we study Scripture. I am also working on the Ignatius exercises. I pray the rosary.

Have you been Catholic all your life? How long have you been a member of St. Edward?

I am from the Dominican Republic and have always been Catholic. We moved to Salem, Mass., when I was 10½. I have been at St. Edward seven years.

What is your education background?

I earned a bachelor of fine arts degree at New York University, specializing in film and television. After graduation, I joined the U.S. Army. I spent four years in the military and loved it. After the Army, I earned a master’s in science administration and joined the civil service. I did an internship in personnel and moved to Red River Army Depot, Texarkana. I earned a second master’s in adult education at Texas A&M University at Texarkana.

What do you do at Red River Army Depot?

I serve as a supervisory work force management specialist. I love my job; it gives me an opportunity to help develop people and help them find a career.

While in the military, you served a year in Iraq. Tell about your most memorable experience there.

We were attacked by mortar fire. Another soldier and I were standing outside near a bunker. While we were being fired upon, I felt like somebody was hugging me. I had no fear and felt peaceful. When the attack was over, the entire bunker wall near us was full of holes. There is no reason why we were still alive. It was very humbling to experience God’s protection.

What is your goal as you work with St. Edward’s youth?

My ultimate goal is to improve their relationship with God.

Do you have hobbies?

I enjoy my cat Chincha. I am an avid reader. I’m also a runner. I participated twice in a 26-mile march at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico to commemorate those who took part in the Bataan Death March. Some survivors of the March come to New Mexico to see the march and participate in a beautiful ceremony honoring them. 

You have experienced difficult times in your life, including a bout with thyroid cancer. What have you learned through hard experiences?

Yes, I’ll be taking medicine the rest of my life. I have had to slow down. I know what depression is. I have learned to have more empathy with people and a lot more patience. I have learned to care about people. I have a new appreciation for people who suffer. My aunt told me that God brings good out of the horrible things that happen to us. I have learned that she was right.

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