St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

Interview with Father Higinio

 

 

 

It was the first of October, a gorgeous autumn day. The radiant afternoon sun warmed the hearts and souls of the school children joyfully leaving St. Michael’s after a busy school day.

 

Fr. Higinio greeted me and invited me into the small meeting room of the parish office. We planned to cordially chat about his life-adventures from Argentina to Cobourg. His friendly smile and welcoming words initiated the informal interview.

 

Who is Fr. Higinio?

This first question came as a surprise to him, but his answer came as a surprise to me. He gave a similar answer to that of Pope Francis in his famous interview recently published in the Italian Jesuit journal. “All of us are sinners. I am a sinner, like Peter answered to Jesus. But the Lord has looked upon me like He looks upon all of us. Good question, not easy to answer,” Father explained.

 

Fr. Higinio continued, “I was born in 1978, in the city of San Rafael of Mendoza Province. San Rafael is 1000 km from Buenos Aires, at the foot of the Andes Mountains. My parents were Italian immigrants to Argentina, but now they passed away. I have three brothers; two of my brothers live in San Rafael and my twin brother lives and works in Boston.

 

Already as a young boy I was thinking of becoming an IVE priest. At 17 I entered the seminary, which was in my home town, and was ordained at the age of 24.”

 

How do you see your work in a parish?

Fr. Higinio’s answer was immediate. He answered with visible conviction and enthusiasm, “I want to help people to find God, to get close to God, to know His love, peace, mercy, forgiveness, to help all the people. St. Ignatius wrote that Jesus sends apostles to help all, to help everybody.”

 

Do you have a model priest?

“I like to read the life of the saints. I like the writings of John Paul II and John XXIII. I like to learn from them about how they lived their priesthood. I don't have one model, but learning from many is what I like. I want to know how they helped people to find God, because that’s what I want to do also.”

 

What does it mean to you, “to think with the Parish”?

“As a Priest,” said Fr. Higinio, “one has to do what helps people – visit the sick and teach who Jesus is to children and the young. However, the parish is for all, and as a priest I have to help each and every person to become a friend of God and to grow in that friendship. Essentially, I want to help with the pastoral needs of the faithful.

 

 

 

Are you an optimistic or a hopeful person?

Fr. Higinio’s answer was spontaneous: Hopeful! I was really inspired by John Paul II and Cardinal Van Thuan who wrote many books about it: The Road of Hope; Testimony of Hope; Prayers of Hope, Words of Courage. It’s a beautiful teaching about hope.

 

What kind of music do you like?

Fr. Higinio’s answer came rapidly: I don't sing like Fr. Andrew! Then he stopped and I could see that he was in a short, but intense reflection, and he nearly whispered with smiling eyes: Music? I don't listen to lot of music. Well, I like Christmas music, Italian Christmas music. (At this point, I felt that he wanted to go to next question and leave the music and the singing topic behind.)

 

Do you read other than religious books?

I like to read the classics of each country where I am. I give you a few examples. In Argentina, I read Martin Fierro, in Spain I read Quixote de la Mancha, in France I read The Song of Roland, in Italy I read The Divine Comedy, in Greece, I read Iliad and Odyssey.

 

How many languages do you speak?

Text Box: Pope St. Higinio or Hyginus (in Latin)
 
Pope Hyginus (died c. 142) was the Bishop of Rome from c. 138 to c. 142.[1]
According to the Liber Pontificalis,
Hyginus was a Greek born in Athens.
At his death he was buried 
on the Vatican Hill,
near the tomb of St. Peter.
His feast is celebrated on January 11.

I speak Spanish and Italian and I can converse in Greek, but if you don't practise you forget. And I am starting to speak English!

 

Do you like movies?

I am far from being a moviegoer, but for example I liked The Life of Saint Maria Goretti and the Life of Christ.

 

Did you work in other parishes before?

When I was studying in Rome I resided in my IVE Order community, but I helped out regularly in a parish. Also, I did the same when I was studying in Greece.

 

How do you divide your day?

In the morning I pray with my breviary. I find time to walk and pray the Rosary. It is the tradition of my Order to pray one hour each day in adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Also, I read every day something spiritual or about the life of a saint. I especially like to read about Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Saint John of the Cross, Father Pio, Saint Augustine, Saint Gregory the Great and I read a lot from Blessed John Paul II, especially his homilies.

 

How did you end up here in Cobourg?

When I was working in Greece my Order asked me how do I feel about a “change of scenery”. They suggested an associate pastor job at St. Michael’s and later to help with the new College in Peterborough. I said yes! Even though my only experience with Canada was two hours that I spent at the Pearson Airport a few years ago. I did not know anything about Cobourg, about St. Michael’s Parish or about the Canadian winter.

 

* * *

 

Thank you Fr. Higinio and thank you for coming to our parish. And do not worry, the Canadian winter will come soon enough. However, the warm welcome of the faithful of St. Michael the Archangel Parish will remain with you during those “six winter months”. We both laughed!

 

As I walked through the parking lot the warmth of the October sun was just as comforting as the good impressions that I took with me as I shook hands with our new Associate Pastor, Fr. Higinio Rosolen, IVE.

 

 

 

Laszlo De Roth, parishioner

St. Michael the Archangel

Parish Community of Cobourg