By Fr. Guillermo Trevino
At the Vision 20/20 Convocation I was really struck by Katie Prejean McGrady’s testimony about a deacon who accompanied her and believed in her. I made it part of my homily for Pentecost Sunday as one of the key themes for Vison 20/20 is accompaniment, and that we need to accompany each other on this road called life. There is nothing like real-life examples, so I thought about when I was accompanied in my own life.
When I was 14 years old, my father died. The time before, during and after his death affects me to this day. I did not own a vehicle until I was a seminarian in second year theology because my mother never learned to drive. My Lutheran Boy Scout master, Quint Ford, and his wife, Joyce, would drive us to University of Iowa Hospitals every day for a month before my father died. We lived in the Quad Cities, so that was an hour there and an hour back every day! After my father’s funeral, Quint and Joyce said to let them know if we needed anything.
As a kid, I wanted to be president of the United States. My first email address was firstname.lastname@example.org because that was the first year I would be eligible to be president. I still have that email address, though no one uses Yahoo anymore. My Boy Scout master said, “If that’s what you want to be, then do it!” He believed in me.
As I became more religious and wanted to be a priest, he introduced me to Father Rudy Juarez. Again, Quint Ford believed in me. If you ask most people I grew up with — and maybe even some parishioners today — they will say, how is Father Guillermo a priest? In my journey as a seminarian, Quint Ford and his wife were there for me when few others were; they even took me to the seminary. Joyce passed away a month before my priesthood ordination.
On ordination day, June 6, 2015, Quint was the happiest person there, and that’s no joke! He held his head up high. There is a tradition of giving the manutergium, a cloth used to soak up the chrism oil after a bishop anoints a new priest’s hands, to the priest’s mother. Also by tradition, the newly ordained priest gives the stole from the first confession that he hears to his father. Since my father was deceased, I gave it to my Lutheran Boy Scout master, Quint Ford.
I am very active on Facebook and let people know about giving that cloth to my Lutheran Boy Scout master. Some Catholics were scandalized. “How dare you give it to a Lutheran, something so precious! Isn’t there one good Catholic?” I responded, “No comment,” which made people smile. Quint Ford “believed in me when few if any did.” That is what Vision 20/20 is calling us to do, accompany each other. Believe in each other.
Tuesday afternoon, June 11, I received word from Quint Ford’s family that he was struggling to breathe and they put him in hospice. I prayed for him with his family present. He passed away, 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 12. Thank you for believing in me, Quint Ford, and may you rest in peace.
(Fr. Guillermo Treviño serves at St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City, St. Bernadette Parish in West Branch, St. Joseph Parish in West Liberty and as chaplain at Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City.)