My name is Julio Santo and I am from Equador. I have recently finished my studies at Santa Croce and my priestly formation at the Sedes Sapientiae College in Rome. Right now I am feel gratitude knowing that these past seven years of study were worthwhile in order to know the Lord more deeply, to love Him more and to renew this love that has called me to one day to serve you.
These three years that I have spent in Rome have been wonderful. Not because everything has been perfect, but because I have learned to grow up away from home, and to expand my heart to all corners of the earth.
I understand now that the Church no longer means my country or parish alone, but that the Church is spread all across the world. I have experienced this firsthand after studying and living with people of many nationalities here in Rome. This experience has increased my love for the Church, knowing that I am always accompanied by the prayers of my brethren everywhere, and in this way my little world extends more and more.
Being close to the Holy Father has been a very special experience. Particularly, earlier this year, we had the opportunity of participating in a retreat that he preached for priests and seminarians. One of the things he said was that "if we do not strive to be saints now, we will not be priests". I want to be a holy priest, and for that I count on your prayers.
I take this opportunity to thank you, on behalf of my family, for your support, because they could not imagine how expensive it would be for their child to study to serve God as a priest.
I am now returning to Ecuador, and I ask the Lord to continue in this beautiful apostolate that reaches all corners of the earth!
I extend my warmest regards to you, God bless you!