A life-long commitment
Br. Clay Diaz, SCJ, started candidacy with the Priests of the Sacred Heart in 2003. On July 8, he made his perpetual profession of vows with the community.
“I came to know the SCJ community while living in Puerto Rico through Vision Magazine,” he said. “I truly appreciate the SCJ charism and the ministries of the community: working with the poor and serving those who have needs, be it through parish ministries, social outreach, schools and many other ministries.”
Born in Massachusetts, Br. Clay, 49, grew up on the East Coast but moved to Puerto Rico as a young adult. Much of his family also lives there, including his mother. “I come from a BIG family,” said Br. Clay. And that’s no exaggeration; he has 10 sisters and four brothers.
“Being a religious brother, an SCJ brother, is a blessing and a great joy,” he said. “One of the reasons why I joined the SCJs was because of the charism, the love that we have for the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but also because Fr. Dehon, our founder, worked with the poor. When I visit our ministries I realize that I want to continue to follow in his footsteps.
Br. Clay had been out of school for 19 years when he became a candidate. He admitted that the return to academics was a challenge, but one that he enjoyed. He did his undergraduate studies at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, and this past May, he earned a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) from Catholic Theological Union, also in Chicago.
Bilingual, Br. Clay is fluent in English and Spanish, including sign language in both languages. Hearing impaired, Br. Clay said that his disability gives him an advantage in reaching out to people with special needs, “I have an understanding of the challenges they face.”
Before completing his studies, Br. Clay did a ministry year at St. Joseph’s Indian School in South Dakota
“I enjoyed working at St. Joe’s because of the great people both at the homes and in the different academic departments,” he said. “The atmosphere on the campus is such a unique experience. I learned a lot about the Native American culture.”
Br. Clay moves from Chicago to Mississippi where he will work with Sacred Heart Southern Missions.
Click here to view a photo album from Br. Clay’s ceremony.