An Interview with Pepe Vasquez
Pepe Vasquez is 64 years old, and thus the senior brother in the house. That does not keep him from going for long runs or bike rides, and serving actively in the local community and beyond. All over Latin America he is known for his work with young professionals, so we asked him how he got into that.
“I arrived from Michigan in 1994. I then spent five months in the mountains of Honduras, helping a priest looking after his huge parish. That is where I began teaching the ‘New Way of Living Course’ (a basic presentation of the Gospel). When I returned to Monterrey, I offered my services to parishes, but with very little response. But the Young Professionals District of the local community was glad to have me, and that is where it all started. These singles started to evangelize and we now have three different Young Professional Outreaches all over the city, and our own people reach out to their friends and work colleagues. This year we celebrate our 28th anniversary.”
Before long, Pepe started travelling, primarily in Mexico. Young professionals in various places were keen to get teaching on how to live as committed disciples after university, in the context of all the new commitments that their professions entail. At the time of our interview, Pepe had just returned from a conference in San Miguel Allende in Mexico where single people from all over Mexico gathered for mutual support.
We also wanted to hear more about Pepe’s consulting work. “Some of the graduates from Ven y Sigueme (Come, Follow Me), our Young Professionals Outreach, started a company. Pretty soon they asked themselves how they could provide a work environment that was supportive, encouraging and that would reflect their Christian values. So they asked a couple of us brothers to offer talks and retreats, and to be available for individual coaching.”
Currently the project is on ice, but the brothers in Mexico hope to resume it soon, since it is a great service opportunity for men who have “outgrown” youth work. In closing I ask Pepe how he does in a busy house, full of young and active men, being over sixty. “It took some adjusting, of course: busyness and noise become more of a challenge as you grow older. But at the same time, living with younger people and serving with them keeps you sharp. So of course you wrestle with what it means to live our ideal at 64, but not being alone protects you from aging too quickly”.