Pedro Campos, 38

First assignment: Our Lady of Tepeyac, Chicago

Education: Constitucion de 1917 School, Justo Sierral Lazaro Cardenas, Seminario Mayor de Zamora, all in Mexico

Parents: Ma. De Jesus Cisneros and Jose S. Campos

First Mass: 3:30 p.m. May 19 at Our Lady of Tepeyac Church, Chicago

When Pedro Campos was only 5 years old, his grandmother took him to Mass every morning and even then he was attracted by what the priest was doing at the altar. When he was 6, he began attending CCD classes with his older sister, serving as an altar boy and helping to clean the church and ring the bells. A few years later, when he talked about becoming a priest, his parents said he was too young to decide so he forgot about it for awhile.

When he was a college student majoring in English, the idea returned, but this time he didn’t discuss it with anyone. Instead, he came to the United States and spent three years working in Kansas, where he also volunteered to teach English to recent immigrants. When he returned to Mexico, he joined the family business. At age 29, he finally began studies for the priesthood in Mexico. He was considering switching to a seminary in California or Texas when a friend told him about Casa Jesus in Chicago and that brought him to the archdiocese five years ago.

Campos hopes to do ministry among Hispanics and his first assignment—at Our Lady of Tepeyac in the Little Village area—will give him that opportunity, since it is at least 95 percent Hispanic. He realizes that there is “a big difference between being a seminarian and being a priest” and expects to learn from the pastor, Father James Miller. His focus, he said, will be on the sacramental life of parishioners.

As for the current crisis in the priesthood, Campos said, “It is something I never expected to hear, but I see it as a period of purification. It is a time to realize that priests are human beings. Hispanics, especially, need to see priests in a more realistic way.”

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