“Father Jet,” also known as the Rev. Jacinto Garcia, is the new assistant pastor at St. John Catholic Church in Ennis.
“I received my nickname from the priest who baptized me, and it has just stuck with me all these years, even through my ordination,” said Garcia.
Garcia joined St. John Catholic Church in April, when Bishop Charles Grahmann of the Dallas Diocese selected him from a group of missionary priests from the Philippines to serve as assistant to St. John Pastor Edison Vela.
“While in Dallas on a recent missionary work program for the Dallas Diocese, I was surprised the bishop asked me if I would like to work in Ennis,” said Garcia, who has been quite active in church and youth programs since his arrival.
“I am looking forward to carrying out my duties, and serving the church and community here in Ennis,” he said.
“I am very excited about being able to assist Father Vela, and especially helping with teaching the children the Catholic faith and moral values, as well as helping the parish establish new programs for our youth,” said Garcia.
Both priests have provided numerous years of spiritual service in Spanish-speaking countries - in particular, special assignments fostering multi-cultural programs - before relocating to the United States. Vela came to St. John as pastor in 2006 as past pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Waxahachie. He had come to the Dallas Diocese from the Ipiales Diocese in South Columbia, with an extensive parish priest and missionary service background in numerous parts of the world.
Garcia was born in 1971, in the Philippines, to Raul and Sonia Garcia. He attended school in the Philippines - elementary school at Colegio del Santisimo Rosario, high school at Holy Rosary Minor Seminary, college at Holy Rosary Minor Seminary and theology at Holy Rosary Major Seminary.
“I always wanted to become a priest, even as small boy,” he said. “Both my grandparents, with whom I visited each summer - Lolo and Lola, as I call them - were very religious. They went to mass every day, and their lives left great imprints on my life. I believe they built a solid foundation of faith within me, and inspired my desire to become a priest,” Garcia said. He was ordained to diaconate Dec. 7, 1996, and to the priesthood June 14, 1997 - “the happiest day of my life,” he recalled.
Since his ordination he has served as assistant pastor at St. John the Baptist, San Fernando, Camarines Sur, Philippines; St. John the Baptist Sipcot, Camarines Sur; St. James Cathedral, Libmanan, Camarines Sur; and pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes, Libmanan, Camarines Sur, and also at St. Rita of Casia, Del Gallego, Camarines Sur.
St. John Nepomucene Parish administers church services and school activities to a large, growing and diverse parish population - providing multiple church services each week to more than 2,300 parish families, including a significant influx of Czechoslovakian and Hispanic heritage, spanning more than 100 years.
The parish offers and maintains a wide variety of church ministries and provides a kindergarten-12 parochial school system (one of only a few in North Texas), offering accredited scholastic and athletic program.