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Dating Catholic Priest, ibinahagi kung paano niya iniwan ang pagiging Pari upang pakasalan ang isang Babae. "Jesus knows I love him still"



Tinalikuran niya ang kaniyang pag-ibig upang pakasalan ang kaniyang pinakamamahal.

           Ani Dr. Alex Meñez sa kaniyang aklat na “The View from the Pew: A Catholic Priest Falls in Love” na inilathala ng Aletheia Publishing, naiirita raw siya kapag may mga parishioners na “late” nang dumarating subalit noong una raw niyang makita ang babaeng ito, hindi ganoon ang naramdaman niya.

           “I first saw her – of all times and of all places – while I was saying Mass. She came in during the readings. Latecomers are pet peeve of every speaker as a general rule, and to come in late for Mass is inexcusable to say the least. But my reaction was different.”

           Isang doktor ng Canon Law si Alex na nagmula sa Kalibo, Aklan, kung saan siya naordinahan noong 1970. Taong 2000 nang lumipat siya sa Archdiocese of Los Angeles sa California.

Source: Monching Lumantas/Facebook

           Taong 2011, noong siya ay 64 taong gulang at 40 taon nang isang pari, iniwan niya ang kaniyang bokasyon at pinakasalan si Espy De Vega na noon ay 51 taong gulang, matapos matanggap ang “dispensation from celibacy” mula kay Pope Benedict XVI noong Oktubre 2020. Sa kasalukuyan, masaya silang naninirahan sa Long Beach, California.

           Sa naging panayam ng “PHILSTAR Life, na-“captivate” raw ang emosyon ni Alex at mula noon ay lagi na raw siyang umaasang makikita niya si Espy sa bawat misa. At noon ngang Hunyo 2000, ilang buwan mula nang una niya itong makita, nagtungo raw sa simbahan si Espy upang ipabasbas ang kaniyang unang kotse – at si Alex ang “priest on duty” noon.

Source: Monching Lumantas/Facebook

           Ayon kay Alex, “What a beautiful coincidence? Or was it serendipity or maybe even providential?”

           Matapos noon ay doon niya lamang daw nakuha ang pangalan ni Espy. Binasbasan niya raw ang kotse nito, nakipag-usap sa kaniya subalit isa raw “professionally friendly” si Espy – isa siyang parishioner habang pari naman si Alex.

           Makalipas daw ang tatlong taon, namatay ang ina ni Espy at si Alex ang nagbigay sa kaniya ng komunyon. Bago pa rito, itinuturing daw ng ina ni Espy at ng kaniyang mga kapatid si Alex bilang parte ng kanilang pamilya: “They are all girls, and they took me in as their elder brother. Invitations to family gatherings were always a joyful expectation.”

Source: Monching Lumantas/Facebook

           Tanging si Espy na lamang daw ang hindi ikinakasal habang ang kaniyang apat pang kapatid na mga babae ay may kaniya-kaniyang pamilya na. At nang mamatay nga ang kanilang ina, naroon daw si Alex sa kanilang pagluluksa: “It took many more years until the acquaintance became familiarity. And the familiarity did not breed contempt. Instead, the friendship grew up to a higher level.

           Taong 2008, nakaramdam na raw ng “unchartered emotions” si Alex. Subalit isa nga raw siyang pari – dapat ay hindi siya umiibig. At pakiramdam daw niya noon na “one-sided attraction” lamang ang namamagitan sa kanila.

           Ngunit kalaunan, inamin daw ni Espy na nararamdaman niyang higit pa sa pagkakaibigan ang nais ni Alex. Ayon naman kay Alex, sinabi raw ni Espy na may nararamdaman daw siya subalit natatakot lamang daw siyang ilahad ito.

           “Now the feeling had become reciprocal. I weighed the options. I felt happier being with her than doing my ministry. I felt that during these unsettling years, I was simply functioning as a priest even if I enjoyed doing the rituals, and I felt fulfilled, and people were happy and impressed with my dedication and devotion.”

Source: Monching Lumantas/Facebook

           Noon daw, naging “ritualistic, a task, a duty to perform” daw ang pagpapari. Subalit, kung kasama niya raw si Espy – “there was joy and peace and fulfillment.”

           Noong mga panahong iyon, ayaw raw niyang alamin kung ano ang mas matimbang – ang pagpapari ba o ang pagmamahal niya kay Espy, dahil para kay Alex, “at this time, falling in love was not wrong. What was wrong was that it came rather late in my life.”

           Dagdag pa niya, “Now I realize that love is not planned, and it is a crazy thing. I never thought that at my age, love would ever come. All I know is that I do not love Christ less by falling in love. Jesus knows how much I love him still. Can I not love Jesus as a layperson? Can I not love him and be married? And will Jesus love me less when I am no longer a priest?”

           Matapos ang ilang proseso, ikinasal na nga sina Alex at Espy sa St. Bartholomew Catholic Church sa Long Beach, Calfornia noong Marso 26, 2011.

           At nito lamang “Valentine’s Day,” nagsulat ng “love letter” si Alex kay Espy – ang kaniyang kabiyak sa loob ng 10 taon na hindi niya raw nabigyan ng “diamond ring” ngunit inalayan naman ng kaniyang libro.

           “My book is the story of my love for joy. It is a story crafted by my personal effort and created from my heart. It is our love story worth sharing because God’s imprint is in it. And it is the story if my life.”

Source: Monching Lumantas/Facebook

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