By Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Deacon Daniel Coronado’s parents were a little surprised when he told them he wanted to explore a vocation to the priesthood.
Maybe they would have been less surprised if they thought about what he was doing with his cookies.
Fast forward to the present. Deacon Coronado (Arguedas), 38, will be ordained a priest by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann on May 27 at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Kansas City, Kansas.
Deacon Coronado was born and raised in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, in Central America. He is one of two sons of Jorge Coronado and Ana Cecilia Arguedas.
He grew up in a conventional, extended Catholic family. His grandmothers played a big role in his life, including his faith.
“When I was a child, my mother worked during the day, so I would spend a lot of time with my grandmothers during the morning and early afternoons,” said Deacon Coronado.
“I remember one of my grandmothers reading the Bible every afternoon and speaking with some of her neighbors about faith and about some passages of the Scriptures,” he continued. “I remember that every month the neighbors would pass the statue of the Virgin Mary — the Virgen del Carmen — door to door so that in each house the family would pray the rosary.”
His other grandmother would preside over dinner table prayers, waiting for quiet before beginning.
“I think that showed me respect for sacred things,” said the deacon. “She would pray the rosary every day, and she would sometimes go to Mass with my family. During Holy Week, she would watch movies about Jesus on TV, and she would cook special cookies for us.
“I learned how to pray the rosary in my grandmother’s house because, during May, we would gather the whole family, and some of my cousins and I would lead one mystery of the rosary.”
Of course, his own parents played a major role in his religious formation as well. His mother taught him how to pray and told him stories about Jesus and Mary. Occasionally, his father would “motivate” him to get up for Sunday morning Mass with a promise of ice cream.
“I remember [my mother] bought me a Bible for kids, and sometimes she sat with me to read . . . passages of the Bible,” said Deacon Coronado. “She also bought me a little image of the Virgin Mary to have in my room. My mother and I would go downtown on errands and we would stop by a church to pray before we’d head home.”
As he got older, he was involved in youth camps. He’d also go on Holy Week missions to communities where no priest was available. He and the other youths would prepare and conduct different activities to evangelize adults, teens and children. They’d stop at homes and visit the sick.
“We did that several times. And in doing that, I got to know that — similar to the disciples on the road to Emmaus — God was making my heart burn and was calling me in a more profound way,” said Deacon Coronado. “I felt that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
It wasn’t until he was in college, studying computer systems, that he came to the decision that he had to discern a calling to the priesthood.
“I was very involved in the parish in different groups,” he said. “I took classes in theology at Catholic University [of Costa Rica]. Each time, I was more and more involved in the life of the church. I realized [God] was really calling me to something else.”
It was a priest from Costa Rica who helped him decide to go north to the United States and the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
“He told me that, in Kansas, the Hispanic community was growing and that there were not many priests who could speak fluent Spanish,” said the deacon.
He was ordained a transitional deacon on May 22, 2016, at the Cathedral of St. Peter by Archbishop Naumann.
“I want to serve the people of God,” said Deacon Coronado. “I want to bring people closer to God, and to feed them with the bread of life, and to offer them God’s mercy through the sacrament of reconciliation.”
“I want to seal them with the graces from the sacrament of baptism,” he continued, “and to accompany and anoint those who are sick with the sacrament of the anointing.
“I want to make God present to people in a sacramental way and to imitate Jesus in laying down my life in the service of others.”