Bishop John Noonan by the imposition of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit will ordain for the Order of Diaconate Mr. Ivan Olmo on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 12600 Marsfield Avenue, Orlando. All are invited to attend.
When Ivan Olmo began working for a telephone company at the age of 18, he expected to work there for the remainder of his career.
“In my mind, that’s what was chosen for me,” said Olmo, a native of New York City. “I thought I’d have a long career there and then retire.”
But God had other plans.
A lifelong Catholic, Olmo will be ordained a transitional deacon May 19 at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Orlando, his home parish. Currently, he is a seminarian at Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass., a special seminary for men who receive their calling to priesthood later in life. Olmo is 46.
Following high school, Olmo began working for a telephone company in the 1980s, and served in a variety of management positions, including sales, marketing, accounting, human resources and asset management. He moved around the U.S., and opted to come to Orlando in the early 1990s, where his godparents resided. He later headed back to the Northeast, and in 1993 settled in New Jersey. It was there that he had a conversation with a priest that changed his life.
“I had been told by a priest that I had a vocation in the Church,” Olmo said. “From the second that priest planted that seed, it just grew from there; it never went away. It was the first time somebody had told me that, that someone had invited me to do something in the Church. It surprised me.”
Following that conversation, Olmo became more active in parish life, and served as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and sacristan and worked in religious education. In the process, ministry became more important than his career.
“Work was something I had to do,” Olmo said. “Being an active member, a full participant of the Church, that became my priority, God became my priority. The more I became active in ministry, the more the change started taking place. I started thinking that maybe God was calling me to do this.”
For the next 14 years, Olmo considered priesthood but wasn’t ready to give up his career. He was transferred back to Orlando, and during that time, people at his parish and outside the church would often ask if he was a seminarian. He finally answered God in 2007, after someone told him he would make a great priest someday.
“It was that statement that got me to say, ‘Okay, I hear you now,’” Olmo said. “I was finally ready to answer what God was asking me to do.”
After 23 years working for the telephone company, Olmo resigned and sold his house to discern his vocation. During a two-year process, he volunteered at Holy Cross Catholic Church, where he did everything from answering phones to putting together the bulletin. He considered joining a religious order, but said he felt called to become a diocesan priest.
With one career behind him, Olmo looks forward to serving the Lord as a deacon for a year and hopefully as a priest next year.
“Now is supposed to be the time,” Olmo said. “Those early years, I believe, were just the way they are supposed to be. I look at my company as a gift that prepared me for these times. Through the ministry, prayer life, reading the scriptures, God was preparing me to answer the call.”