Nieto ready to lead the herd at St. Therese in Little Rock – Arkansas Catholic

Future priest grew up at St. Raphael’s Church in Springdale, will be ordained May 28

Posted: May 25, 2022

Aprille Hanson Spivey

Deacon Jaime Nieto (center left) stands with Bishop Anthony B. Taylor; his aunt, Beatriz Nieto Bautista (left) and his mother, Maria Del Carmen Nieto Bautista, during his diaconal ordination on May 21, 2021 at St. Raphael’s Church in Springdale.

Growing up, Jaime Nieto thought he would eventually pursue a career in medicine, but as he grew closer to the Church, he realized he was not called to save lives but to save souls. Soon he dreamed of becoming a priest.

“I thought I would be a doctor or something in the medical field for my career. I’ve always wanted to help people,” he said. “I wanted to offer my services for free to others who are struggling economically. Once I became very involved in the Church – teaching catechism and confirmation classes, choir with children, youth group and retreats – that’s when things evolved towards the priesthood.

Nieto, who grew up in St. Raphael Parish in Springdale, entered Little Rock Formation House in 2014 and began attending Assumption Seminary in San Antonio in 2018. Bishop Anthony B. Taylor will celebrate the Ordination Mass of Nieto and Daniel Wendel as priests at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 28 at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Little Rock.

“I’m ready,” he said. “We are both ready.”

On July 1, Nieto will become associate pastor of St. Theresa’s Church in Little Rock, where he will work with the new parish priest, Father Stephen Gadberry.

“I spent the summer before my diaconal ordination working with him,” he said. “I know how he works, how he likes to do things. I’ll be like a sponge trying to absorb knowledge to be the best priest I can be. I have a lot to learn, but I’m really excited.

Nieto, a native of San Juan del Rio in Querétaro, Mexico, who moved to Springdale at age 15, believes a shepherd should smell like his flock. He is content with his assignment at the heavily Hispanic church and elementary/middle school.

“As a shepherd, I will walk in front of my flock to lead it, in the middle of the flock to listen to it and know it and behind it to watch it and make sure it is going in the right direction,” he said. he adds. mentioned. “We may not all be from the same country, but we speak the same language, and that will help the church feel at home for people who are so far from home and live here in the United States. .”

Nieto said he looked forward to celebrating the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

“That one has a special place for me when I think of the role of a priest,” he said, “how you listen to people and how you care about them. We often let negativity take a toll. higher place in our lives than it should and let it dominate us.

Reconciliation, he said, helps us let go of negativity, release our burdens, reconnect with God, and gives us a sense of relief.

“It lets us know that we are loved by God, and we all need to know that.”

Along with ministering to and meeting members of his new parish, Nieto said he will pray for vocations.

“I advise young people not to be afraid, to try to open their hearts to the call of God and to let him strengthen you,” he said.

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