José Perez-Flores was born Catholic, but there was a time when faith was the furthest thing from his life.
“I used to hang out with the wrong crowd, and I hardly ever attended Mass,” he said. “I’d be over hanging with my friends.”
Perez-Flores, 28, said one acquaintance was persistent in trying to show him a better path for his life.
“My friend Gabriel Munoz, he always invited me to church. I would always be like, ‘Naaaahhh, I really don’t feel like going today,” he said. “I said, ‘I’ll go next Sunday,’ and next Sunday would come and I wouldn’t go.”
He finally relented and never looked back. Mass attendance led him to a life-changing retreat and then being a regular cantor for the Spanish Mass at St. Edward Church in Texarkana.
“(My old friends) tell me, ‘Come hang out with us,’ and I’m like, ‘Nah. I got responsibilities at church. I can’t stay. Got to go,’” he said.
When Perez-Flores does seek out his old crowd these days, it’s for a different purpose.
“I see a few people going on the same path that I was, and I just try to change them around,” he said. “I’m like, ‘Oh, come on. Go to church with me,’ like my friend Gabriel did for me. It changed me a lot.”
“I’ve got this one friend that I was hanging with, he hasn’t made his mind up yet. Maybe one day. The Lord will help me and he’ll come and join me.”
• If you could be any saint, who would it be?
“Probably St. Jude. He’s the one that guides my way.”
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