Pablo Santa Maria drawn to clergy life after attending WYD 2002
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
Deacon Pablo Santa Maria Watson was inspired to join the priesthood after attending World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto. Almost 10 years later he will realize his dream: he will be ordained a priest May 26 at Holy Rosary Cathedral.
"I had the fortune of travelling with priests (during WYD 2002) who kept asking if the men were interested in the priesthood, and I began to give it real thought," Deacon Santa Maria told The B.C. Catholic after being ordained a deacon June 3, 2011.
He also said he was inspired by the presence of Blessed Pope John Paul II in Toronto, who he said radiated excitement for Christ.
Deacon Santa Maria was born in Mexico City in 1984. He moved to Richmond with his family in 2001 and joined St. John the Apostle Parish, where he served Mass and received the sacrament of confirmation.
He said he valued St. John's for fostering a family community, something he noticed was lacking in Canadian society. In Mexico, he said, the country lives a family-oriented Catholic lifestyle, whereas in Canada both Catholicism and family are a choice.
His superiors also credit Deacon Santa Maria with being a good-natured person with a great interest in the Church.
"Deacon Pablo has always been interested in liturgy, and comes across as approachable," said Father Joseph Nguyen, vocations director for the Archdiocese of Vancouver.
He may have been a studious seminarian, but Deacon Santa Maria said his time studying for the priesthood was anything but boring.
"People think of seminarians as boring, always praying and studying, (but) you can't judge a book by its cover," he told The B.C. Catholic in 2011. "My first year at seminary was a fun year."
Deacon Santa Maria will waste no time serving the archdiocese once ordained a priest. His first Mass will be in Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Vancouver the following Sunday, May 27, at 11 a.m.
Deacon Santa Maria's ordination Mass takes place May 26 at Holy Rosary Cathedral starting at 10 a.m.