By Jessica Easthope
Deacon Nestor Martinez knows what it’s like to work hard. Anyone coming into Divine Mercy Church in Williamsburg, Brooklyn would say he’s a natural. But, looking back on his days in the seminary that wasn’t always the case.
“There were some moments you want to give up. I went to the seminary and the first three months, oh my goodness, it was so hard for me,” Deacon Nestor told Currents News.
But his work ethic prevailed: he’s now two weeks away from becoming a priest. His perseverance started at a young age while growing up in a rural farm in Colombia.
“You’re growing corn, beans, peas,” he explained. “You work throughout the day until 4 p.m. or 5 p.m.”
He’s the eighth of 10 children. As a kid he lived, worked and did everything with his family. He hasn’t been with them since coming to the states in 2017.
“Whenever they have internet they call me, we keep in touch with each other,” he said. “I keep in touch with my parents too. I try to call them every day,”
His family and dedication to the Church has marked his vocation, but he can also look back on a time when a church was not at his doorstep.
He recalls having “to get up every Sunday like at 4 a.m., and then prepare myself and go to Mass walking like 30, 40 minutes.”
Once Deacon Nestor recognized he was being called by God, he looked to join the seminary at a very early age.
“I wanted to go to the seminary when I was 14 but the problem was it was hard for my dad to send all of us to high school,” he said.
His parents were surprised, but supportive.
“When I told them they were surprised, but they reacted positively,” Deacon Nestor said.
Though each priest serves his community fully, Deacon Nestor’s mission is to bring families back together; he said that’s been a silver lining of the pandemic.
“I think through this pandemic, we are realizing many important things in our lives and one of those is family,” Deacon Nestor said.
He wants people to experience the same family unity he had growing up. So, as many families work on reconnecting with each other, Deacon Nestor will soon be building his new family in the Diocese of Brooklyn.