ROUND ROCK, TEXAS –Father Miguel Flores-Perez, (1LT) USAR, a prospective United States Army chaplain, was ordained a Catholic priest on Saturday, June 27, in Round Rock, TX. Father Flores-Perez, 42, plans eventually to serve on active duty as a chaplain in the U.S. Army with endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) after an initial three years of pastoral service in his home Diocese of Austin.
Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin ordained the new priest at St. William Catholic Church through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit. AMS Auxiliary Bishop F. Richard Spencer (pictured with the new priest) concelebrated the 10:30 a.m. ordination Mass. Among those in attendance were Father Flores-Perez’s parents, Andres and Shirley Flores; his brothers, Mr. Andres Flores, Jr., and Mr. Carlos Flores; and his nephew, Mr. Alex Flores.
The new priest graduated from William Howard Taft High School in San Antonio in 1995. In 2012, he graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theology. Father Flores-Perez completed his priestly formation at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, where he earned a Master of Divinity and a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.). He celebrated his first Mass on Sunday at Saint Mary Cathedral in Austin. He will serve his first assignment for the Diocese of Austin at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Killeen, TX.
Father Flores-Perez said he was inspired to pursue a vocation through prayer and the good example of Catholic chaplains when he was growing up as “an Army brat.” “I am filled with a desire to serve and help others while serving in the Army,” he said. Speaking to the Catholic Spirit, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Austin, he described the blessings of formation as “being around other men who are passionate about the priesthood and the faith, and seeing our calling mature and develop.” He expressed gratitude to family members, friends, the many priests who influenced and listened to him through the years, those in the Army who encouraged his vocation, and Bishop Vásquez for allowing him to pursue the “vocation within a vocation” to serve as a military chaplain.
The eventual service of Father Flores-Perez and other Catholic chaplain candidates is greatly anticipated by the Army, which, like all other branches of the U.S. Military, continues to suffer a chronic shortage of Catholic chaplains. Currently, only 88 priests are on active duty in the Army, serving a Catholic population of nearly 120,000 soldiers, not counting their families.
Young men interested in discerning a priestly vocation, and the vocation within a vocation to serve those who serve in the U.S. military, can find more information at www.milarch.org/vocations, or may contact the Vocations Director, Father Aidan Logan, O.C.S.O., by email at email@example.com.