Fr. Vidal celebrates anniversary of ordination

Friday, Jun. 24, 2022
Fr. Vidal celebrates anniversary of ordination Photo 1 of 2
Shown at the June 17 Mass honoring Father Gustavo Vidal's 25th anniversary of priesthood ordination are, from left, Fr. Javier Virgen, Fr. Vidal and Deacon Joaquin Mixco.
By Laura Vallejo
Intermountain Catholic

MAGNA — Twenty-five years ago, on June 28, 1997 at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, the then-Rev. Mr. Gustavo Vidal knelt in front of the Most Rev. George H. Niederauer, eighth Bishop of Salt Lake City, to be ordained a priest.

At that moment, his mind and heart were flooded with the many blessings of his priesthood journey, Fr. Vidal recalled.

Those blessings have continued, he said. “These years have been 25 years of growing in the knowledge of the Lord, of being able to live many wonderful experiences, of having the blessing of sharing with the people of God, of being able to celebrate weddings, sacraments, funerals, supporting and accompanying the people of God and being able to share that God is always with us.”

His years as a priest have been filled with experiences, some of which marked him deeply. For instance, a few months after his ordination, as he served at St. Joseph Parish in Ogden, “One morning I received a phone call from the police asking for a bilingual priest, so I told them I was one,” he said. “I didn’t know Ogden at the time. ... They came to pick me up to take me to a place that was really close to the parish.”

The place they took him was a murder scene.

“There was a small road behind a house and the police officer told me that next to a tree was lying the body of a 9-year-old. ... The officer also told me that the mom didn’t know that her daughter was there dead, and that they could not communicate with her [because of the language barrier], so they asked me to tell her,” Fr. Vidal said.

“I had not even been ordained for two months, and there I was confronted with this task. ... This marked me. It was a big tragedy, but I was able to offer comfort to the family and celebrate the funeral of the girl,” he said.

The area’s Anglo and Hispanic communities united in prayer amid that tragedy, and since then Fr. Vidal has continued to be a link between the diverse communities that he has served.

After Ogden, Fr. Vidal was named pastoral administrator of St. Elizabeth Parish in Sevier County, and then at St. George Parish in St. George, where he began to coordinate the Charismatic Congress, healing Masses, Holy Hours and retreats.

He then was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Orem, and from there he went to St. Mary Parish in West Haven, where he started celebrating Flame Keepers retreats for men, as well as Marian retreats for all.

“All these are still celebrated to this day,” said Fr.  Vidal, who now is pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Magna, where on June 17 many diocesan priests as well as parishioners gathered to celebrate the silver anniversary of his priesthood ordination.

Fr. Vidal presided at the Mass, which was concelebrated by Fr. Javier Virgen, pastor of St. Joseph the Worker in West Jordan.

Fr. Virgen, who was the homilist, said that it was an honor for him to be celebrating the anniversary.

“Many priests leave their countries; this is the case of Fr. Gustavo, who many years ago left his hometown in Colombia to serve the people of God here in Utah,” Fr. Virgen said. “At age 20 he entered the seminary. ... In 1991 he was accepted by the Diocese of Salt Lake City. … Christ called him to a new culture. His life was no longer his, it was for Christ and for the people of Utah.”

Fr. Virgen said that Fr. Vidal brings the joy of God to his people.

“Fr. Gustavo has always brought his joy and commitment to the parishes that he has served. His many years as a priest has brought challenges, but he has always risen to the occasion,” Fr. Virgen said, asking Fr. Vidal “to keep going on with that beautiful smile and laughter that is contagious.”

Fr. Vidal thanked the community for their support and for walking his priesthood journey with him

“Thank you for the opportunity to not only encounter in the liturgy but in the many cultural traditions, events and celebrations. We are all the People of God,” he said.

To mark his jubilee, Fr. Vidal has celebrated Masses in many of the parishes that he has served. He is about to embark on a month-journey to celebrate Masses in his hometown in Colombia.

On Aug. 3 Fr. Vidal will begin his new assignment as pastor of Saint Rose of Lima Parish in Layton.

WHAT: Jubilee Celebration for Fr. Gustavo Vidal 
WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 11 at 11 a.m. 
WHERE: St. George Parish, 259 West 200 North, St. George

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