The new priest at St. Vincent Pallotti Catholic Church must have felt a little dazzled Sunday night as parishoners packed the nave to welcome him and witness his installation by Bishop Michael Sis of the Diocese of San Angelo.

The Rev. Emilio Sosa began his service at St. Vincent on July 2, moving to Abilene from St. Joseph Catholic Church in San Angelo. A native of Mexico who grew up in a Catholic orphanage, Sosa was ordained a priest in the Diocese of San Angelo in 2006 by former Bishop Michael Pfeifer.

“This is a new chapter in the history of this parish,” Sis said during the installation service on Aug. 12.

The service began with a joyous processional of visiting clergy, members of the Knights of Columbus, and the bishop. Incense, music from a keyboard, and hearty voices filled the nave.

Before the installation rite, Bishop Sis delivered a homily on being imitators of God. Christians have a model for that.

“When we listen to the words of Jesus of Nazareth,” Sis said, “we’re hearing God’s words.”

Imitators of God should remember two things, the bishop said. One is to forgive others. The second is to practice agape love, which emphasizes self-giving and self-sacrifice.

“Agape is like no other kind of love,” Sis said.


(Photos courtesy Monica Garcia, St. Vincent Pallotti Catholic Church)

St. Vincent Pallotti is getting a priest with a remarkable history in Sosa. Early on, the sisters who ran the orphanage where he grew up recognized his intellect and his love of the church. They encouraged his studies and church participation.

The orphanage in Pachuca, Mexico, was for boys ages five to 14. When Emilio reached 15, he was sent to live and study at a school in Tulancingo. After three years, he earned a degree and then studied at a seminary in Tula. When he was one year away from ordination, a nun at his old orphanage in Pachuca suggested Sosa visit her brother, Rev. Gilbert Rodriguez, who was a priest in the Catholic Diocese of San Angelo. And that is where he met Bishop Michael Pfeifer, who would ordain him in 2006.

Before Sosa was finished with his education, he would obtain several degrees and certifications and he would become a United States citizen.

In 2016, while serving as priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church in San Angelo, Sosa was named a Missionary of Mercy by Pope Francis. The designations were made throughout the world in 2016, which the pope designated the Jubilee Year of Mercy.  Of the 2,000 Catholic priests in Texas, only four were designated as a Missionary of Mercy and two were from the Diocese of San Angelo, Sosa and the Rev. Sam Matthiesen, who at the time was at Holy Family Catholic Church in Abilene.

While Father Sosa was welcomed to the parish, members also said goodbye to a lifetime member, Humberto Diaz, who is headed to seminary. Diaza is the first member of St. Vincent to discern a religious vocation since another parishioner, Sister Muñoz, became a nun 50 years ago.

In welcoming Father Sosa to St. Vicent, Bishop Sis urged the parishioners to open their hearts to their new priest, to pray for him, and to get to know him.

“He is called to love you after the example of Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd,” Sis said.




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