Merida, Venezuela. Celebrating fifty years of priestly life is a privilege that not many can achieve. But celebrating a brother is a great achievement for everyone because his personal wealth and his works have benefited so many people that it is difficult to break it down into its many scopes and contents. This is what we want to highlight in the first place on the golden anniversary of priestly consecration of Jose Antonio Santana Hernandez, missionary Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Coming from Las Palmas de Gran Canarias, he began his formation in the seminary of Jerez de los Caballeros in 1965 and made his first religious profession on December 8, 1967. He continued his formation in Zafra and Loja (philosophy studies) and then in the great center of Salamanca where he did his theological studies. These were times of conciliar freshness that shaped him with renewed airs of the Church to open to the mission with the missionary traits of being urgent, opportune and effective. He received his priestly ordination on May 20, 1971 from the hands of Bishop Federico Melendro, a bishop with a missionary disposition who consecrated him, giving him part of his open and universal spirit.
After his priestly ordination he was assigned to America in 1971, specifically to the province of Venezuela. His first missionary community of reference was San Bernardino, with the task of vocation animator. Then, in 1973, he was assigned to the community of Los Dos Caminos, still with the great responsibility of vocation ministry. In 1977 he was elected Provincial Superior. The provincial curia will be, first, in the house of La Paz del Alma and, then, in Emmaus, both in Caracas, assuming these two missions: government and formation. After finishing his term as Superior, he was elected by the Chapter as Vicar Provincial. He continued to be linked to the formation ministry in Los Curos, Merida. It was a time of change and transformation in the province, a process of revision of positions with a more critical spirit and trying to update and prolong it in the missionaries and in the local church. Fr. Santana himself is ready to assume the changes that a revision of positions implied and that is why he assumed the mission of Sierra Imataca as Superior in 1984.
When he was granted a sabbatical year in 1987, he took the opportunity to study at the ITER in Caracas. This did not prevent him from continuing to accompany theology students in the insertion mode in Petare, one of the poorest neighborhoods of Caracas. This formative task was interrupted when he was elected again as Provincial Superior in 1996 with residence in Los Dos Caminos. At the end of this period, he returned as formator in Petare.
Then, he was again assigned to the mission of Sierra Imataca, Delta Amacuro, in 2003. It will be from this missionary position that he will participate in the process proposed by the Congregation to form the new Major Organism, called Colombia-Venezuela since 2011. A new destination will be the parish Corazón de María de Mérida, where he currently continues his mission.
We congratulate our brother José Antonio on his fiftieth anniversary of priestly consecration!