From The Tidings in Los Angeles:
Deacon Valentin Saucedo is thoughtfully silent when asked if he recalls the first time he thought of becoming a priest. His three sisters in the room listen quietly.
Then Saucedo breaks the ice. “I’ve been crazy since I was little,” he jokes.
In fact, the veteran associate director of the archdiocesan Office of Diaconate Formation was blessed, he says, to have grown up surrounded by “profound religiosity” of his mother, Elvira Favela de Saucedo, and his grandmother, Juliana Saucedo, who “frequently narrated” the story of the “Cristiada,” when the Catholic Church in Mexico was persecuted, many “Cristeros” were murdered by the Mexican army, and others sought asylum in the United States and elsewhere.
“My mother was like the pastor of the town,” Saucedo says proudly.
Today, the 69-year-old deacon places great value on that religiosity, especially at a time when physicians have told him there is nothing left to do medically to eliminate the abdominal cancer from which he suffers.
“It’s nothing strange for me that I’m dying,” he says, “because I’ve always known that Christ died and rose again and we all die and rise with him. So while I’m dying, I’m also proclaiming His resurrection, something we always repeat in Mass: ‘We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection.’”
Ordained to the diaconate in 1994, Valentin Saucedo is widely respected in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for his long commitment to the formation of Spanish-speaking deacons, as well as for helping pave the way for Hispanic chaplains to serve in the challenging environment of the Twin Towers of Men’s Central Jail in L.A.
That has made his illness all the more upsetting to those with whom he has worked over the years. And yet, the deacon himself remains in good humor and spirits, pointing out that when the cancer was detected in April, doctors only gave him two weeks to live.
And although his health has weakened in recent months, he still laughs, remains lucid, demonstrates his songwriting skills and even recites one of the many poems he has written throughout the years.
Part of his outlook is framed by the fact that he is no stranger to pain and serious illness. Twelve years ago he suffered a stroke that left him bedridden, semi-blind and completely paralyzed from the right side of his body for three months.
“This is when I discovered that Christ has powers to heal the paralyzed,” he says.
Read more. And keep him and those he loves in your prayers.