“We priests must transmit to young people, with our lives, certainty and security”
The seed of the vocation to priest in his grandmother’s faith
Discover the story of Father Danilo Juvenal Aranda, an Argentine priest from the diocese of San Roque. He is one of only thirty priests to accompany the more than half a million Catholics who live in the region.
In the vast plains of northern Argentina, in the Chaco region where the town of Presidencia San Roque is located, Danilo and his brothers were raised by his grandmother. From her, a woman who prayed a lot and constantly asked God, received faith. When he went to study in another town, he came into contact with the parish of San Antonio de Padua in Río Bermejito. With the spiritual guidance of priest Ramón Roa, and accompanying him in his work in the multiple rural locations that he served, he began to awaken the desire to serve the Church.
In a pastoral experience, Aranda answered the call to be a priest and decided to enter the inter diocesan seminary. His path to the priesthood was forged in the authenticity of faith lived in the daily life of his home, and was consolidated in dedication to rural communities that yearned for spiritual sustenance amid the vastness of the Argentine plains.
“My grandmother, with her constant prayers, illuminated the path of my faith. In youth ministry, I discovered the call to serve, especially in rural locations. The priesthood was no longer just a calling; It became my mission.” Priest Danilo Juvenal Aranda
Theology in the streets of the Eternal City
Danilo Aranda’s path to the priesthood took him to the Eternal City, Rome, where theology is breathed in every corner. At the Sedes Sapientiae International School and at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, he not only acquired knowledge, but also experienced a unique fraternity with young people with the same vocation from all over the world.
Theology became more than an academic study; It was an experience he embraced with all his mind, heart and soul. Studying in Rome allowed him to meet Popes Benedict XVI and Francis, who left an indelible mark on his path.
The special life of the Eternal City was reflected in every class at the university, in every experience with classmates who shared the same spiritual concerns. The vitality of Rome not only nourished his academic training, but also strengthened his commitment to the priestly vocation through human and spiritual formation.
“Rome not only gave me knowledge; I immersed myself in the living history of the Church. In those days, I experienced the universality of our faith. Dialogue with the popes was not only an honor, but a living lesson in humility and service”. Priest Danilo Juvenal Aranda
Enduring memories of Rome
Between the cobbled alleys with the sanpietrini and the majestic basilicas of Rome, Don Danilo treasures memories that will accompany him for a lifetime. On the day of Pope Francis’ election, for example. On March 13, 2013, he was studying, reviewing a subject, when the bell began to ring, he began to hear voices and feel a lot of movement. Until he heard someone say “habemus papam”. Everyone from the school ran towards St. Peter’s Square, even though it was raining, while they heard the sound of the church bells ringing announcing the election of Pope Bergoglio.
“Every cobblestone in Rome has a story. Remembering the day of Habemus Papam is reliving an epic of faith that marked my heart. The rain did not extinguish the joy; It made it more intense.” Priest Danilo Juvenal Aranda
From ordination to parish ministry
Defying pandemics and discovering beauty in service
Ordination in 2015 marked a new chapter in the life of Father Danilo Juvenal Aranda. From the position of episcopal secretary to parish priest of Saint Bernard, his path has been marked by service and accompaniment.
The pandemic, challenging, but full of opportunities, revealed to him the beauty of pastoral service. Accompanying his community through uncertainty became a tangible expression of his commitment and devotion. Each stage of his career has allowed him to discover new dimensions of his vocation as a priest, from administrative roles to direct service in the parish.
“The pandemic was not just a challenge; It was an opportunity to discover the very essence of service, to find beauty in the midst of adversity. My work as a priest took on a new meaning in those days.” Priest Danilo Juvenal Aranda.
Listening, accompanying and testifying: keys to connecting with young people
In a world where young people are increasingly distancing themselves from the Church, Father Aranda addresses the challenge of bringing them closer to God. His experience in various parishes and in youth ministry reveals the importance of active listening.
Authenticity and closeness are essential to connect with today’s generation. Young people crave more than speeches; They seek a living testimony of faith, and Don Danilo strives to be that presence full of hope and joy. In every community where he has served, he has understood that genuine connection with young people is built on a foundation of authenticity and empathy.
“Young people seek authenticity and an incarnated faith. They need witnesses who reflect the joy and hope that only God can offer. Youth ministry is not only a duty, it is a passionate calling.” Priest Danilo Juvenal Aranda
Faith, fraternity and continuous formation: pillars of the modern priest
Faced with the challenges of the 21st century, for Don Danilo Aranda, trust in God and fraternity among priests are essential. Also, perseverance in prayer and service, a good spiritual director and continuous formation. They are the pillars that support the mission of the priest.
“Faith, fraternity and continuous formation are like the columns that support the priest in turbulent times. Trusting God and supporting each other are keys to success. Furthermore, constant training keeps us prepared to face emerging challenges with wisdom and discernment”. Priest Danilo Juvenal Aranda