by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Even though a man stands alone before his bishop to be ordained a priest, he certainly doesn’t get there alone.
Family and friends, mentors and classmates, pastors and professors, and the unsung faithful all play a role.
This truth was recognized on May 27 at the ordinations of Father Michael J. Guastello, 44, and Father Daniel Coronado Arguedas, 38, at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Kansas City, Kansas.
“In a special way, we’re grateful for the presence of so many members of the Coronado and Guastello families,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann in his homily.
“We’re particularly grateful for all the family and friends of Daniel who have come from Costa Rica to express your affection for him as he accepts Our Lord’s call to serve him and his church as a priest,” the archbishop continued.
“I’m equally grateful,” the archbishop added, “to the Guastello family and Michael’s many friends who, although they did not have to travel so far, still had to make a border crossing on State Line Road.”
Father Guastello and Father Coronado both graduated this spring from the University of St. Mary of the Lake-Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. They were ordained transitional deacons on May 21, 2016, by Archbishop Naumann at the Cathedral of St. Peter.
In his homily, Archbishop Naumann said the church owed a special debt of gratitude to the parents of the ordinands: Mike and Frances Guastello, and Jorge Coronado and Ana Cecilia Arguedas.
“Thank you for being the first teachers of the faith to Daniel and Michael,” said the archbishop. “Thank you for introducing them to Jesus, and teaching them through word — and even more, by your example — to be men of prayer. Thank you for your example of faithful and unconditional love that you had modeled for them by living your vocation of Christian marriage.”
Ana Cecilia Arguedas, the mother of Father Coronado, noticed early on her son’s responsiveness to faith.
“I think I realized since he was very young, maybe even 4 years old, that he was different than other boys and more connected to God,” said Arguedas. “The church and faith always drew his attention. I remember that when he was young, he was very excited about his first Communion. I knew he was different.”
Even so, she was surprised when he said he wanted to go to the seminary — especially outside of his native Costa Rica.
“First, it was jolting,” she said. “It was a shock that he would want to take this path toward religious life — even more so because he wanted to come to the United States, which is so far from our family and our community.”
“I wanted him to choose a closer place to go to the seminary,” she said. “And I was worried about him being lonely.
“But it’s a process, and it has brought him so many positive things in life.”
By no means was the path of discernment easy for her son.
“I was worried,” she said. “I think about 43 seminarians started in his class, and after a year, so many had left. At one point, there were only eight.
“I was also worried because Kansas is so far away, and . . . it was an adjustment [for him] in terms of language and culture. One time he called . . . to tell me the food didn’t sit well with him and that he missed Costa Rican food.
“But his mentors and spiritual leaders motivated him to pray, to continue his path and to get where he is today.”
Calling him “padre” might take a little getting used to, she said.
“We are filled with so many emotions having a priest in the family,” said Arguedas. “We are filled with pride and happiness. . . . We are all here celebrating what he has accomplished.”
After Archbishop Naumann’s homily, the Rite of Ordination continued with each man being called from the pews to stand before the altar and respond “I do” to the archbishop’s questions during the Promise of the Elect.
Each man took turns kneeling before the archbishop to make the promise of obedience. Next, they lay prostrate near the altar during the Litany of the Saints.
At its conclusion, they each knelt before the archbishop to be ordained a priest by the laying on of hands and the prayer of ordination. Members of the presbyterate also came forward to lay on hands and pray for the two men.
Father Guastello was vested by Father Robert Pflumm. Father Coronado was vested by Father Randall Soto, professor of sacred Scripture at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis; it was he who was responsible for helping Father Coronado study in the United States.
After vesting, the two priests returned to the altar to concelebrate the Mass with Archbishop Naumann and members of the archdiocesan presbyterate.
For their first assignments, Father Guastello was assigned as associate pastor of the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park, and Father Coronado has been assigned as associate pastor of Good Shepherd Parish in Shawnee.