WHEN Father Jo-Andre Beltran tells you he comes from a religious family, he really does come from a religious family.
Beltran, the associate pastor at Notre Dame de Chicago, is the fifth priest among his Beltran relatives not including that several cousins who are also priests but not with the Beltran surname.
“Our house was like a second rectory,” Beltran told the Catholic New World. “It was only 15 steps from the church.”
Beltran recalls attending mass every morning at 5:30 am with his grandparents, whom he credits with planting the seed of his vocation, accord- ing to CNW.
After graduating from Cagayan National High School, he attended the University of the East before heading into Thomas Aquinas Semi- nary.
He told CNW that it wasn’t until he was in Thailand, a mostly buddhist country, when he realized the importance of his catholic vocation. While in Bangkok, he volunteered with the Redemptorist Fathers, served as a minister at a jail and also worked with refugees.
He said that he truly became a servant of Christ when he worked with Bishop Clarence Duhart, who had gone blind.
After briefly return- ing to the Philippines, he joined a diocese in the U.S.
Prior to serving at the Notre Dame de Paris, he served at St. Mary of the Woods.
He said the key to recruiting younger people into the priesthood is to lead happy lives.
“Priests need to be involved in others’ lives and show them we are real people,” Beltran said to CNW. “Many youngsters harbor wrong impressions of what priests’ lives really are like. Some think they lead conservative, ‘locked-in-the-seminary-type’ existences. We must bait them with our happy lives.”
(balikbayanmag.com) (LAWeekend Oct.22-25, 2011 Sec C3)