Biography - Fr. Reynaldo Usman A.M.

Father Reynaldo Usman 250x375pxFather Reynaldo was born in the city of Manila, in the Philippines on April 14th, 1967 the eldest of five children (two sisters and two brothers). His father, a forklift operator and mother, a beautician, were devout Catholics going to church every Sunday. "I remember as a child my parents would invite the block rosary group to our home and my father would lead the rosary" Father Reynaldo recalls. 

At an early age, young Reynaldo and his family moved to the nearby city of Quezon where he attended school until his college years. Father Reynaldo remembers the moment when he first thought about entering religious life. "As a child I was playing in the streets and I remember seeing a priest walking by. I noticed he was wearing the cassock and he was carrying a bag and it just occurred to me that I wanted to be like him. I had no idea what the priesthood was like. I think I was seven."

By the time he was in high shool, his interests had changed and he was setting his sights on being a dentist. But in his senior year, after attending a weekend vocational seminar he had a change of heart. "I felt I wanted to become a priest". He belonged to a youth movement called the Youth Marion Crusade. The brothers who were facilitating the movement belonged to the Disciples of Mary. They invited him to join the vocation right then and there. Upon graduation from high shool Reynaldo entered the seminary. Eleven years later, following intensive studies in philosophy and theology and year of clinical pastoral experience in hospital, he was ordained December 8th, 1995.

For the next 10 years Father Usman was assigned to various parishes in and around Manila. In 2005 he received in invitation from Father Mark Bautista in Aldergrove, BC to fill in for him while on vacation. It became a yearly occurrence and Father Usman fell in love with Canada. In 2009 he wrote a letter to Archbishop Miller asking if he could work as a guest priest in the diocese. Within a short time he had completed the necessary documents and in the fall of 2009, he was assigned to St. Mary's parish in Chilliwack. Two years later he was off to Holy Trinity Parish in North Vancouver for four years, then one year at All Saints parish in Coquitlam before being assigned to Star of the Sea.

Father Usman, or "Father Rey" as he prefers to be addressed, says the sense of "mission" is what he finds most gratifying about the priesthood. "Early on I had this desire to promote, to evangelize, to teach. The first question of Archbishop Miller to me was 'what brought you to Canada? I said it is the sense of sharing my faith, not only to parishioners but to outsiders as well."

Father Rey says he's very much looking forward to his time at Star of the Sea. One of his favorite activities is swimming. "As a kid, in the Philippines, we didn't have pools, but we had floods. So we would swim in the floods.," he says, laughing. He hopes to spend plenty of time at the local pools.