Father Antonio Maria Diez de Medina, C.F.R., hopes to return to all of the countries he’s visited and resided in.
He’ll be piling up frequent flier miles if he does.
Father Diez de Medina is the son of Richardo Diez de Medina and Hisae Iihoshi, and the brother of Maria Elena Diez de Medina. His father was a U.S. diplomat and his family resided in La Paz and Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Mexico City; Tokyo; Santiago, Chile; and Bethesda, Md. He was born in Bolivia and confirmed in Japan.
“It was tough at first,” Father Diez de Medina said. “I remember being angry with my family and God. After a while, you get used to it and grow from the experience of being in the different cultures. The two constants in my life were my family and going to Catholic Mass. I’m grateful to God for the experience.’’
Father Diez de Medina said he went through rebellious periods while living in Japan and Chile, but “didn’t have peace with that.” At the University of Michigan, everything changed for him.
“I went to confession for the first time in four years and that changed the direction of my life,” said Diez de Medina, who has a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Michigan. “I had a new joy in being cleansed and renewed. I sensed a call to the priesthood, and it was a new beginning for me in finding purpose with the Lord.
“God was very patient with my stubbornness. I would resist at times and other times I would try to bargain with him. It’s been a long journey.’’
Father Diez de Medina, 36, has been a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal for 13 years, professing his final vows in 2008, and traveled to Honduras, Nicaragua and Ireland. He called his time in Honduras and Nicaragua a “blessing” and worked at a summer camp in Limerick, Ireland.
“It’s a beautiful country, but even better than the beauty of the country is the people. I love the Irish sense of humor,” he said.
Father Diez de Medina studied two years of philosophy at St. John Neumann in Queens and four years of theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. He said he learned to appreciate poetry during his studies to become a priest.
“I’ve written a few poems and there is one in particular I like because I wrote it in sonnet form and there is theology in there as well. It speaks of creation and of God’s grace at work,” he said.
He’ll return home to celebrate Mass on Father’s Day, June 19, at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, Md., with Father Gene Fulton, a priest of the archdiocese, delivering the homily.
“Some people use the analogy that the ordination is like the wedding, but you know after the honeymoon, there is real life to follow God and what God has planned for me,” he said