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June 4, 2017

New Mexico native now calls Lafayette diocese home

James De Oreo
Home parish: St. Joan of Arc, Kokomo

James De OreoPlease tell us about your family background and hometown.

I was born and raised in Rio Rancho, N.M. — a town just outside of Albuquerque. I have one older sister currently working as an engineer with the Department of Defense and my parents, Victor and Catherine De Oreo, currently reside in New Mexico.

Rio Rancho is in the high desert of New Mexico, a mile above sea level, and nestled at the feet of the Sandia Mountains, which reach over 10,000 feet.

Where did you go to school and to church? What were some of the activities you were involved in?

I went to public school until I was in high school. I then attended St. Pius X High School, where I graduated in 2008.

What jobs did you have before entering the seminary?

For a few years in high school, I worked as a membership salesman at the local Rio Grande Zoo during the summers. Pay was based on commission and if you are interested, I would be happy to give you more information on the zoo membership.

What led to your decision to become a priest? How did you feel that you were called?

My family knew two priests well as I grew up. A priest in New Mexico, Father Terry Brennan, was especially inspiring. He was instrumental in my discernment and was always there when I had questions about the faith or needed some advice. In terms of when I was first called, I was in Eucharistic adoration in my high school sophomore year. That single moment changed my life. Since that moment, I continued to discern God’s will for me as I went through high school and entered college at Notre Dame, eventually becoming a seminarian for New Mexico while at college.

The question that many people ask is, “How did I end up in the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana?” While there are many moments that went into becoming part of the Diocese of Lafayette, I realized a key component of any vocation is the people you serve and those you serve with. I felt called to leave my homeland when I did not yet know where I was being called. Through the generosity of many priests and people, and with the support of my brother seminarians in the diocese, I am privileged to call the Diocese of Lafayette my home. While on pastoral year in Kokomo at St. Joan of Arc, through the people there and the experience I had, this call to be a priest in the Diocese of Lafayette was affirmed a hundred-fold.

Who has inspired and encouraged you during your years of formation? How?

The priests of the Lafayette diocese and the seminarians aspiring to be priests have been some of the greatest sources of inspiration as I approach the diaconate. Furthermore, on pastoral year and onward, the continued generosity and faithfulness of the people to the Church has been a strong source of encouragement over the past few years. The families who made me a part of the parish, those I encountered while teaching in the school, RCIA, confirmation and Bible studies, and those in the diocese who inspired me continue to enrich and support my vocation.

What do you look forward to in the next year as a deacon?

In the upcoming year as a deacon, the thing I look forward to most is preaching. I look forward to continuous meditation on God’s Word as I begin to proclaim the Gospel. I also look forward to being a deacon and to serving those around me in general. In ordination, I give myself to God and the Church, while being equipped with the graces to carry out that mission. God’s faithfulness to me personally as I moved through formation has shown me how much I draw close to God as I draw close to the diaconate.


Related story: ‘Showing themselves to be servants to all’: Two men ordained to transitional diaconate

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