Daniel Velasco's quarter of century journey from his native Mexico to his May 17 diaconate ordination in Searcy will leave him one step away from becoming a priest working in the Diocese of Little Rock in 2020.
"Looking back at the journey, however, I can only say that it is through God's grace that I was able to take the leap of faith to leave my job (as a controller of AK Industrial, Searcy) to begin my formation in the priesthood," Velasco said in late April. Bishop Anthony Taylor will conduct the diaconate ordination at 6 p.m. at St. James Church in Searcy.
Bishop Taylor has informed Velasco that he will spend this summer working at St. Raphael Church in Springdale, before returning to Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in Indiana this fall for his sixth and final year before being ordained to the priesthood in 2020 by Bishop Taylor at the Cathedral of St.Andrew, Little Rock.
Velasco will celebrate his first Mass next year at St. James where he has been a member since he arrived in 1993 from his hometown of Puebla, Mexico.
Velasco studied marketing and international business at Harding. He received his bachelor's degree in administration degree in 1997. He worked for a few years before returning to Harding in 2001 to pursue a Master of Business Administration. After completing his MBA, Velasco was employed by AK Industrial Contractors in Searcy.
Velasco commends numerous people for their influence along the way beginning with his mother's guidance in loving God beyond all else and his father for teaching him"the importance of hard work and dedication."
Moreover, Velasco says she has been blessed with many inspiring priests he met during his life. Velasco said for a while he put aside a call to the priesthood because he felt he wasn't “priesthood material.”
During his early adult life, Velasco said he concentrated on tennis and making money. Despite his successful business career, Velasco felt an "emptiness" he was unable to fulfill through wealth or other achievements. That's when it occurred to Velasco he was being drawn to Christ and His people.
"God is always working in our lives, and despite my limited efforts,
He allowed me to see there was something deeper and more meaningful to pursue in my life as we all can see our own lives," Velasco recalled.
Velasco says seminary life deepened his belief that it's "only through the grace of God that allows us to become His servants."
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