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 | Romeo Soriano Figueroa, Class of 2024

With Our Own Testimony of Life: ILM Graduation Speech

Speech was translated from its original version and edited for an English-speaking audience.

Today we are grateful to be completing our studies at the Institute for Leadership in Ministry (ILM). We thank our Bishop Oscar Cantú for supporting the Institute, for being an invested pastor and for his support of Hispanic leadership programs. We thank Irma Alarcón and Yoshi Moreno for their work in the ILM, we thank each of our teachers who shared their knowledge and inspired us to be better leaders and ministers in our parishes. And with much affection, we thank our families who supported us during this time at ILM.

Three years have gone by very quickly, but looking back we can see that we have come a long way. Each of us has our own stories and anecdotes from this journey, starting from when we first prepared our letter of intent to join the Institute. We met for Zoom classes during the pandemic, and then, little by little, we picked up the pace. Through this extensive program, we have learned much through the Holy Scriptures, deepened our spirituality, and grown in our relationship with Christ. We can say with confidence that our Church, with its treasures of Tradition, documents, and mission, truly manifests the Kingdom of God when we, the people, work for justice and peace in the light of the Gospel. ILM has equipped us with methods and tools to make our communities places of welcome, where we promote human growth and harmony.

Our time studying in the Institute has been very significant because we are no longer the same; we have grown and walked together through grace, with Jesus, who called us by name. All this growth began, if we think about it, the moment when we were first invited to study in the ILM: it was really Jesus who invited us.

We learned about different aspects of our faith through our classes in which our teachers gave their time and talents. It has been an honor to learn from them; they demonstrated their professionalism in every class. With our classmates we formed a community. Despite our different points of view and personalities, we understood that we form one body in Christ who unites us. As a result, we learned to respect each other's opinions, to be patient, and to collaborate. By doing so we put into practice what one of our teachers told us: "We must learn to listen more to people because that is also how we learn." 

I will take away lessons and life experiences from all our teachers. Today we complete our studies at ILM and begin a new chapter in our ministries and lives, where Jesus sends us into the world to be the hands, the voice, and the face of Christ. Let us reflect the light of Jesus, who is with us, enlightening and guiding us every day.

Brothers and sisters of the class of 2024, let us go and take Christ to our parishes, jobs, neighborhoods, and wherever we find ourselves! Let us preach with our words; but more importantly, let us preach with the testimony of our own lives. Congratulations class of 2024!

Romeo Soriano Figueroa is a telecommunications engineer working for Astreya, a catechist at St. Cyprian's parish in Sunnyvale where he attends Mass with his family. He loves soccer, music in a variety of genres and technology.