Where are you from?
I was born in Toronto, Ontario. I lived most of my life in Barrie, Ontario, about an hour north of the city. I have three siblings and I am the second oldest. My parents were born in Ecuador and so I was blessed to have been growing up speaking Spanish.
When you were a child, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?
As a child, I feel my career choices changed every year. Some of the jobs included: being a human rights activist, lawyer, politician and most notably, an ice cream man.
What was your background before you joined the Companions of the Cross?
Before joining, I was completing an undergraduate degree in Global and International Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Furthermore, I was pursuing a potential career in International Law or Diplomacy. At the time, I also was a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Ottawa where I volunteered with the Youth Ministry Program.
What are your special interests?
I enjoy doing a little bit of everything: from singing to baking. But, I have recently been learning how to fish and making video content. At the same time, I do enjoy going for hikes and just spending time with people.
Who, or what, inspires you?
I am inspired by my grandparents who raised twelve children and of my parents who have sacrificed so much financially and through their time to raise us children. Their priority was always centred on family, which is an important aspect of how I was raised. I am also inspired by Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ who was a Catholic Jesuit Mexican priest in the late 1920’s. The country was persecuting Catholics and Fr. Pro would disguise himself as a mechanic or other disguises to provide the Sacraments to the faithful. As he was about to be martyred he exclaimed: “!Viva Cristo Rey!”- “Long Live Christ the King!”.
What led you to join the Companions of the Cross? Could you briefly explain your vocations story?
I attended a Youth Conference in Steubenville, Ohio in 2012 where I encountered the Eucharistic Lord in a personal way. I remember hearing a quiet voice in my heart say “Matthew, be my disciple”. After this experience, I was striving to understand how I could be His disciple. The following years, I began volunteering at my parish’s Youth Ministry Program in Barrie and it was there that I began to discover that God was asking me to consider the priesthood. During my first year of university, I volunteered at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Ottawa, where the Companions were ministering at the time. I saw a clear love for the Eucharist, desire to serve and heart for all God’s children by the priests. The Lord brought to light the question again… “Matthew, Be my disciple”. On my first Come and See, I felt the same immense peace which I encountered the first time at the Youth Conference in 2012. I knew this was from the Lord. He made it possible for me to graduate university early and pursue Him entirely. Praise be to God!