El Padrecito Ministries:
“Creatively Bringing Them Home”
The New Evangelization has been described as a “…re-proposing of the Gospel to those areas where the roots of Christianity are deep but where people have experienced a crisis of faith due to secularization” (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). This is the work of El Padrecito Ministries, a non-profit Catholic ministry in Guadalupe, California. The inspiration for the ministry is based on the life of its founder, Father Masseo Gonzales, OFM Conv.
Though baptized, raised in catholic schools and confirmed, Fr. Masseo drifted from his childhood faith and found himself in trouble as a teenager. He was expelled from high school, had acquired a juvenile record, and lost a portion of his right leg as a result of a street fight by the age of nineteen.
After a series of religious experiences he was led to the Conventual Franciscans of California, who had recently taken over his neighborhood parish, Saint Paul the Apostle, in San Pablo, California. It was at this time that Fr. Masseo discovered his vocation.
After ordination in 1996, he just knew he had “a vocation within a vocation,” which was to work with youth, especially those who were baptized but not living their faith such as he had experience.
The opportunity presented itself in 1999 with the creation of the HOMIES, a line of urban toys created by Fr. Masseo’s brother, artist David Gonzales. Roughly 100 million of the toys were sold in inner-city communities around the country, giving “El Padrecito,” an official member of the HOMIES, instant credibility in the cyberworld. A website was created, “El Padrecito’s Online Church”, and the ministry was official launched.
Though the online youth ministry was successful, with roughly 10,000 official members joining, Fr. Masseo wanted to reach out to even more youth. With the assistance of Bay Area (California) rapper Arturo Cruz (AMC), a hip-hop ministry with born promoting a message of peace in inner-city communities. The music ministry is now more Catholic in nature and faith-focused, and has led to performance opportunities in dioceses all around the country, and at World Youth Day in Brazil in 2013. Music and videos can be seen at www.elpadrecito.org.
Ever since 2010, moved by the writings and life of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, a brother Conventual Franciscan, Fr. Masseo Gonzales has always wanted to live in a “Marian Friary” in Guadalupe, California. Vocation promotion and renewal of the Church was a big part of why Saint Maximilian founded the Militia Immaculata in 1917, and this is something Fr. Masseo believes desperately needs to currently take place now in the life of the Church. Though Fr. Masseo has not yet received permission to create such a house, he did receive permission from his superiors in 2010 – along with the support of local bishops – to build an “El Padrecito Ministries Youth Center” in Guadalupe, California. In 2012 the center was opened and has offered affordable classes in dance, classical ballet, folklorico, tap, salsa, etc., to the children of Guadalupe, many of whom come from poor families. The children – along with Fr. Masseo performing as the Rapping Padre – perform roughly 20 times year throughout the Central Coast. The center is going on its fifth year of existence, and due to ministerial demands, has recently moved to a larger facility. The Catholic hip-hop ministry also regularly requires Fr. Masseo to travel to youth conferences around the country, performing along with one of the more popular, Catholi hip-hop groups in the country, FoundNation Family (visit www.foundnationfamily.com for music and videos).
The ministry was officially incorporated in 2006 as a non-profit 501c3 and so all your donations are tax-deductible. Ultimately, Our Blessed Mother is in charge of the ministry and where she takes things next is entirely up to her. Should you be interested in being a part of this exciting journey, in creatively bringing our children back home to the Church, your donations are certainly welcome! Thank you.
Please remember us in your wills: El Padrecito Ministries, Employment Identification Number 20-5986583. And if you have already included us in your wills, please notify us.