Thursday, February 13, 2014

Priest conceived in rape - confesses man years later

QUITO, Ecuador ( – A priest in Ecuador has shared how he was conceived in rape when his mother was 13, and then later not only forgave his father but heard his confession.

“I could be in a trash can, but I was given life,” Father Luis Alfredo Leon Armijos, 41, told ACI Prensa in an interview last year.

The priest shared how his mother, Maria Eugenia Armijos, had to work cleaning a house in Loja, Ecuador, to help her parents support her seven siblings. She was only 13 when “the owner of the house, taking advantage of being alone, abused her and left her pregnant.”

Maria Eugenia’s family rejected her. “They didn’t want the baby to be born so they hit her in the belly and gave her drinks that would make her abort,” the priest said.

The girl decided to run away to the city of Cuenca, where she gave birth to Luis Alfredo, who was born with respiratory problems due to his mother’s young age.

After some time, Maria Eugenia made it back to Loja with the baby. “She ended up under the care of her rapist - my father - who acknowledged I was his and said he would take care of me,” said Leon, “but that doesn’t mean that things between them were healthy.”

“They had three more children and my relationship with him was distant,” explained the priest.

When Fr. Leon was 16, he was invited to the Charismatic Renewal. “I had my first encounter with Christ,” he said.

At 18 he decided to enter the Seminary in Loja, and was ordained at 23 with the bishop’s special permission due to his young age.

His parents split up two years later and his mother finally revealed to him how he was conceived.

Leon said how he realized that “God was allowing me to be a priest not to judge but to forgive. I had judged my father a lot for everything.”

Years later he received a call from his father who had to go through a surgery. “He was scared and told me: I want you to hear my confession,” said Leon.

“I told him: ‘Father, you deserve heaven, an eternal life,’” explained the priest. “In that moment my father was filled with tears.”

After 30 years, Leon’s father received Communion.

“You can come to know your own story and hate your life,” he continued. “Judge God like I had done. But I discovered that God’s love had been there looking over my life.”

“Everything I have is a gratuity. Life itself is an exquisite gift from God,” he concluded.

Fr. Leon is currently a parish priest for the San José Parish in Loja, Ecuador.

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