Fr Goyo Hidalgo
Fr. Goyo was born near Toledo in Spain. He has travelled and explored many parts of the globe and taught for over 16 years. He moved to Los Angeles and was ordained a Priest in June 2016 after being inspired by viewing the funeral Mass of Pope John Paul II and the sentence “Do not be afraid.” His vibrant spirit and spiritual journey is endearing and inspirational.
Follow Fr. GOYO HIDALGO
What was the training like to be a Priest? Was it a difficult journey for you?
My conversion/Vocation story: once upon a time I was a good Catholic, born in an amazing Catholic family and very involved in the Church. I even went to minor seminary when I was 11 years old. In time that all disappeared. What happened to me? Why did I leave the faith?
You left the Priesthood for 10 years – what made you leave, what were you doing in that time, and what was it which brought you back? How do you keep your faith strong? Do you have any tips to share with us?
I am not sure when exactly, but when I left seminary some part of me also left God, little by little. It started as a feeling of lack of freedom. I thought that being with God didn’t allow me to be myself. That I couldn’t choose. I thought the Church was the Church of NO..
So, I went to Madrid to study to become an English teacher. I wanted to travel the world. I wanted to meet people (yeah, I am an extrovert ), and people I met. Tons of them. The world was winning and my experience of God seemed so distant. It was a thing just for kids…
After all, I used to go to church because, well, it made mom happy. I really can’t find a better answer. Looking back, I know I was very happy with youth groups, meeting people, making mom happy. And God? Where was God? Did I experience His mercy, love, forgiveness?
I did. I just didn’t remember. But living in other countries was amazing. The world did took over me. I lived in France, Wales, and I even went to Berkeley and New York. Now, that was the life I always wanted. I made it!!! I felt free. I felt happy. Then why was I empty?
I moved to LA and I discovered the “happiness” of a good salary. I could buy things in a city where nobody knew me. Where nobody was going to ask me if I went to Mass on Sunday, or if I prayed or if I was good (I miss you mom. I know you prayed for me all these time).
And little by little, my faith, God, and all that I once thought to be good and holy, became just a memory of the past. It was nice sure, but I was older now. I was in my 20’s and I should do what people at my age do: have fun, go out, date, maybe drugs?, drink, and more…
Then I became the fun guy. The one who taught during the day and partied at night. The one who forgot if it was Christmas, Easter or even Sunday. I didn’t even notice churches anymore. I officially became anti religious. Anti God. And I thought I was free.
10 years was my life without God. I didn’t go to confession once. I lied to mom over the phone. I lied to my former Catholic friends. I lied to myself. And I lied to God. The worst part was that I was perfectly ok with it. But mom kept on praying for me. That, she did.
I don’t think I was a bad person. I drank much, I dated even more and I partied constantly but I never thought I was a bad person. I just lived life as a person who made it. After all I lived in Los Angeles and all my friends in Spain were jealous, but I forgot what happiness was.
I thought happiness was living alone, not just physically, but emotionally. No attachments. No reminders to love God. No problems to buy what I wanted. And when I thought I was the happiest, something happened. My long time relationship broke up. And I felt alone.
Naturally, I had to mitigate my pain with alcohol. So I went out until the sun saw me at my worst. I went home with the idea that a new day would be the best medicine and I felt asleep in the middle of my misery, loneliness and pain. When I woke up, my life changed…
I opened my eyes and the TV was on and what I saw next made me a new person. It woke up in me the times when I was really free. Free from my own pity and my own self destruction. These words made me remember that God never abandoned me…
DO NOT BE AFRAID!!!
On TV was the funeral of my new hero: JOHN PAUL II. His famous words were the first thing I saw when I open my eyes from my death into a new life. In one half of a second I saw my life of the past 10 years. I couldn’t believe it!! How did I get there?
And I cried!
I cried like a baby in need of his mother. I cried because I felt lost and naked in front of God and I cried because I thought God couldn’t love this “me.” Then I remembered how mom taught me how to pray. Then I prayed: “Our Father..” I couldn’t continue, and I cried again.
I cried for the next 9 months, but I cried the most when I picked at the phone and I told mom the person I had become. She didn’t speak for the longest minute, then she said: “I am going to show you how to love God again.”
My desire for God was now so deep, that everything seemed new to me. I saw people in a different way and best of all, I saw “me” in a different way. My first confession in 10 years was one for the books. That poor priest!!! But I was new and I felt in love with God again.
His forgiveness was real. His love never changed and all I needed now was to tell Him how much I loved Him. I spent hours in prayer, crying, laughing and just being there. I felt His mercy and His justice so clear, that my fears became joy. It was a new me in Him.
But God wanted more from me. One day, when I was at Mass, hearing the priest preach, I thought “I want to do that. I want to tell the world of this love, mercy and forgiveness.” “Then why don’t you?” He murmured. “Who me? Are you crazy God?” (Yes I said that to Him).
“How can I be a priest? Have you forgotten the things I did? How bad I have been?” “You know. When you came to confession, that day? since then I forgot. So DO NOT BE AFRAID for I am with you always.” And then, I cried again (I know. I am a cry baby).
He then became my gentle tornado. My call to be a priest was like a quiet storm. I said yes and no 30 times a day. I kept on curiously asking priests. “Asking for a friend” I used to say. I was still afraid. I couldn’t believe God had forgiven me yet. “Do not be afraid” He said.
And one day, praying as I used to do, as I looked at Him and He looked at me, I said my timid, reluctant Yes and my life changed again.
How do you keep your faith strong? Do you have any tips to share with us?
So if you are a parent who suffers for your child. If you are someone who is lost and living the “life without God.” If you are in need of forgiveness of God, I tell you with my experience and my life, DO NOT BE AFRAID! He is looking for you to love you until the end.
Thank-you for sharing your beautiful and amazing journey with us Fr Goyo, God bless you abundantly. What a wonderfully invigorating and positive way to express your own account and experience of love, forgiveness and acceptance by God and the Priests who welcomed you back into the Holy Catholic Church.
Fr. Goyo and Shenanigans.
“I keep on seeing this pic and it makes me smile a little, so here I am, sharing it with you. *and for some reason I can’t stop repeating: Hail Mary full of grace, punch the devil in the face. Someone stop me!”
“Tomorrow, a day of fasting and abstinence (not eating meat). I already prepared my fish, but the other priests in the house didn’t approve (I wonder why).”
Fr Goyo sharing a Lego Tutorial on what Lent is to Catholics.
“Happy Easter to all And to you Death…
…Happy April Fool’s Day.”
Fr Goyo on Faith
“Faith is looking at Christ, entrusting to Christ, being united to Him, conformed to Him, to His life. And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence to believe is to conform to Christ and to enter in His love… [Galatians] faith works through love.”
“If you don’t believe in anything greater than yourself you will never do anything greater than yourself.”
Fr Goya on Difficulties in Life
“Difficult times happen, but don’t be afraid to ask God how you can grow through them. My mom always taught me to take advantage of those moments, because from difficulties, we practice for greatness. So don’t push the panic button too fast. Use difficult times to grow.”
Fr Goyo on Praying
When the world sleeps
When all I hear is silence
When I often feel nothing
When I can’t say much
When I just can stay still
When I am the most tired
In the middle of the night…
Because without this moment,
I am really nothing.
“Prayer doesn’t get us things from God. It doesn’t change God’s mind. Prayer changes us, so we can see God in our experiences and we can thank Him for everything, including the things we don’t understand.”
Fr Goyo on Hope and Love
“I used to call my mother to complain about my problems and this is what she used to say to me:
“Transform your pain into hope and love so when you meet someone who suffers, you don’t give them more pain, but hope and love.”
Fr Goyo on the Humanity of Priests
Behind every priest,
•there is a community that prays for him (I hope so),
•some times there is a community that laughs at/with his mistakes (like me),
•and there is always a community which he calls family.
Don’t forget to pray for us. We need you. You are our family.
Fr Goyo on the Limits of Priests
“If you know someone who suffers clinical depression, or someone who threatens to kill themselves, know that we priests(normally) are not psychologists, or, psychiatrists, or even therapists, so please don’t get mad at us if we don’t know how to help with this. We are trying our best.”
Fr Goyo on International Women’s Day
and His Love for Mary.
Everyday is Women’s Day.Honor and love the women in your life everyday. Loving and honoring the One woman who is the model for me and countless women and men for over 2K years. Everyday is Mary’s Day.
Everyday is Women’s Day.
Honor and love the women in your life everyday.
Loving and honoring the One woman who is the model for me and countless women and men for over 2K years.
Everyday is Mary’s Day.
Fr Goyo on St Joseph
“What he didn’t do with words, he did with his example. Amazing saint and amazing model for fathers and husbands (and for us all really).”
Fr Goya on being an Ordinary Priest
“Today, someone “tried” to insult me by saying “you are just a Novus Ordo priest, so your Masses are invalid.”
“And here I am, thinking I was just a very simple boring normal Catholic priest.”
[Novus Ordo was brought about after careful consideration of both the Council Fathers and Pope Paul VI. Novus Ordo retains the foundational structure of the Traditional Latin Mass but the masses are no longer conducted using the Latin language. Essentially it is the manner in which the Holy Roman Catholic Church has simplified the liturgical order of mass to make it more accessible to the ordinary lay person. For instance, Priests face the congregation as opposed to having their backs turned.]