Luis Osorio is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Salvador Osorio of Pereira, Colombia. He earned a degree in political economics at the Universidad Libre de Pereira, Colombia. His home parish is Saint Philip the Apostle Catholic Church, Statesville, North Carolina. He earned a master of divinity degree from Saint Vincent Seminary in 2000. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 3, 2000 by Bishop William G. Curlin. He is parochial vicar of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Monroe in the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina.
This story is from the April 21, 2000 Catholic News and Herald of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina. Reprinted with permission.
By Joann S. Keane
Rev. Mr. Luis Osorio is an early riser, but his calling to the priesthood didn’t exactly come at the sunrise of his vocational discernment.
Now 42, Rev. Mr. Osorio experienced a variety of professional choices before answering that call to ordained ministry in the church. A native of Colombia, South America, he will be ordained in June as one of seven new priests to serve the Diocese of Charlotte.
“My parents made the effort to pay for my studies, and after I graduated, I had nice jobs,” says Rev. Mr. Osorio, who worked in a government office and a sugar refinery in Colombia.
“But I felt that I was missing something here,” he adds, pointing to his heart. “I was looking for something else.”
It was during a trip to visit his sister in Statesville back in 1988 that Osorio’s path to the priesthood slowly began to unveil itself. Father Joe Waters, long known in the Charlotte Diocese for his work with Hispanics, was pastor at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Statesville at the time. Osorio felt an instant connection.
“It was marvelous, because we could relate in Spanish,” he says. “Since I met him, his kindness, his friendship, the way that he relates with the people have been so special. He is a very holy priest.”
Osorio left Colombia in 1990, relocating to Statesville and searching for a new career. Father Waters asked him to help with the immigrant population. Soon enough, Father Waters brought up the priesthood.
”Oh …, “ says Osorio, smiling at the memory. “I said, ‘Father, why are you asking me that?’ I never in my life thought of that. Never.”
But in Father Waters, Osorio found a mentor and an example of faith. He entered a four-year period of prayer, during which he felt the support of many. Finally, the call he felt was strong enough to lead him to seminary life.
He said it was a life lesson on letting God do the directing.
He recalls a conversation with Father Frank O’Rourke, diocesan vocations director at the time Osorio entered the seminary. “I asked him, ‘Father, why did this happen to me so late?’”
They laughed, and Father O’Rourke offered advice that stays with Osorio today: “It’s not your time. It’s God’s time. God is a mystery, and he works in mysterious ways.’”
With ordination just weeks away, Rev. Mr. Osorio is more resolved than ever in his calling. He begins his mornings by 5 with a holy hour, attends classes, enjoys a hike or a meal with friends, catches the evening news, spends weekends in a parish pastoral assignment, and studies — a lot.
He says the opportunity to serve a diocese with such ethnic variety is appealing. “In our diocese, there is a big necessity for bilingual priests,” he says. “Our population is multicultural, and we need to understand the language, the culture and the behavior of the people. The church is universal, and we have to include everybody in that family.”
His life at seminary has been one of self-discovery, too. “I have looked at myself in the mirror and asked, ‘Who is Luis?” he says. “What were the mistakes? What kinds of failures and doubts do I have?’ I came to understand that, and I forgave myself. Because I came to this place, I could do that.”
“It’s something that moves your inner being,” he added. “If you know yourself, you can love yourself. And in that way, you can share that kind of love and understanding with others.”