By Emily Drooby
Father Henry Torres has been helping to motivate the youth of Saint Sebastian’s Church in Woodside, Queens to get in shape.
As the church’s Parochial Vicar, he has teamed up with their Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Christina Penaloza, to help their teens stay in shape with a summer fit club.
Father Torres knows just how important personal health is. After receiving a warning from his doctor about his weight and words from a friend who also had health issues, he decided to turn his life around.
“What really woke me up was the conversation I had with my doctor. I was almost 200 pounds,” said Father Torres. “[He told me,] ‘I’m doing my part as a doctor in the medical field to keep the kidney going, now you have to do your part for the longevity of it.’ It was a wakeup call.”
Before starting this new health journey, Father Torres had a record of medical complications: He had two kidney transplants, was on anti-rejection drugs and his blood pressure was starting to get high. Adding to that list, the priest who was born and raised in East New York also had a high-risk of diabetes.
It was time for a wakeup call. Father Torres got a personal trainer, and in the past year has lost almost 50 pounds.
“My doctor called me last week, excited, and he told me, ‘Your blood work is excellent, just lose five to ten more pounds and continue to do what you’re doing,’” Father Torres said. “I’m excited [and] I feel good.”
Now he is sharing his healthy lifestyle with the youth by motivating them to get outside during the summer months.
When asked what they would be doing if fit club didn’t exist, member Logan Ruiz said, “Eating junk food, hanging out with my friends, watching Netflix.”
The club exercises their physical muscles, but also their spiritual muscles. The group dedicates the last half hour of the club to discussions about their faith and how that connects to fitness.
For example, Father Torres said, “Discipline and consistency is important to develop your spiritual life and your physical life.”
This group proves just how God can move you in many different ways.