Rev. Mauricio Carrasco
Birthdate: September 25, 1984
Hometown: Saucillo, Chihuahua, Mexico
Father Carrasco was born to Ausencio, a wheat and corn farmer, and Leticia. The only son with four sisters, Carrasco said he enjoyed his life living in the country and helping his parents at the corner convenience store. When the drought in the 1990s made it impossible to continue farming, the Carrasco family decided to move to Springdale in 1995 where a family member already had settled.
"My grandmother was born in the U.S. and that actually granted us the ability to apply for residency," he said.
As a sixth-grader, Carrasco said his new life in America was full of surprises and challenges. When his father bought a used Astro van, he admits, "I thought we were rich. 'Oh my gosh, we have a vehicle the whole family can fit in'. ... From my point of view, we had just hit the jackpot." He couldn't believe the expansive offerings in the Toys R Us catalog. "It was a vision of heaven," he said when he saw the store in person.
But with no ability to speak English, it was difficult initially in school.
"It was a different world. It was a scary world," he said. But he added, "All the teachers in my middle school were incredibly welcoming and hospitable."
"I could say 'Hi' and that was the only word I could say."
By the time he was in junior high, he started feeling like he was trapped between the Hispanic and Anglo worlds and not fitting in either one. His family was Mexican and spoke Spanish, but he lived in America and was adapting to the new language and culture.
The Church was one thing that stayed the same. Carrasco loved his faith and being an altar server. At St. Raphael, he was ministered to by Vincentian priests who spoke Spanish.
While he had thought about the priesthood as a teenager, he pushed the decision out of his mind. He studied industrial engineering at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, but the priesthood occasionally came back up again, sometimes at an awkward time, like when he was exiting the church after Mass and then-pastor Father John Antony asked him about his vocational call while Carrasco's girlfriend was standing next to him.
"He mentioned something about the seminary and I was sort of upset at the time. I was like, 'Well, I am trying something different.'"
After his college graduation, Carrasco knew he didn't want to work as an engineer and decided to look deeper into the priesthood.
"I've always been a kid with a purpose. … In great part that is why I can always be so energetic and passionate because I don't just play around. I want to be a good man. I want to bring joy to peoples' lives. … I was dating this great girl and I was pursing a good career and I was doing well and was happy, but there was never a sense of peace in me."
While attending St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana since 2006, Carrasco said the discernment process has been challenging and caused him to grow as a man and future priest.
"I felt very much at home," he said. "There was a great sense of peace from the point I arrived at the seminary … This is what I am called to do. It's not to say there were not a lot of struggles understanding the Church. It's just like marriage I guess.
Speaking prior to his ordination, Father Carrasco said, "I've been preparing for this for the past six years." "I cannot say that I don't feel scared. I do feel scared. Ministry just like anything else will take a tremendous amount of energy."
Father Mauricio Carrasco is now serving as the associate pastor for hispanic ministry at St. John Catholic Church, here in Russelville, AR. He also serves as the Pastor of two other churches: St. Andrew Catholic Church in Danville, AR and St. Augustine Catholic Church in Dardanelle, AR.
If you wish to contact Father Carrasco, the best way is to call the St. John Catholic Church office.
Edited and added additional information to the original article, to consider current titles and events. Original article is dated May 12, 2012 and published by Arkansas Catholic. To see the original article click here !
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