Spartan Alumni Profile:

 
Dear Friends of Damien High School,
 
It is my pleasure to share with all of you where Divine Providence has brought me 14 years after graduating from DHS. I am a priest of Jesus Christ. I was recently ordained a Catholic Priest in the Diocese of Orange, California. I am a member of a religious order known as the Order of Canons Regular of Premontre. To make it easier, we call ourselves Norbertines after our founder St. Norbert.
 
The priesthood in today’s world is a contradiction to everything the world promotes. Some of you may be wondering who is this young man who graduated from DHS and stands against the current? I am one of you. I am only thirty-one years old. I graduated in the class of 2004. I was raised in Pomona, CA. I then went to Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA. There I studied Liberal Arts, gaining the equivalent of a double major in Theology and Philosophy and a minor in Math. I graduated from college in 2008 and immediately I entered the seminary with the Norbertines in Silverado, CA (Orange County). My formation for the priesthood lasted for about nine years and this past summer, I was ordained a priest on June 24, 2017.
 
As many of you already know, the priesthood is not a career. It is a calling, and first and foremost from God, but often promoted, nurtured and fostered throughout life by parents, friends, and priests that God put in our lives. Personally, my desire for the priesthood began as a child as far back as I can remember. All throughout life, I never dated a girl. That is not to say that marriage and a family with children were not part of my desires, but I always felt that deeper calling in my heart. Those priests who demonstrated holiness and reverence for the things of God strengthened my desire for the priesthood. I must also give credit to my parents who instilled in me the importance of prayer, of family, and more than anything led by their very example.
 
Now that I am a priest, I have been assigned as the Provisor of our community. I provide for many of the material needs of our community. My principal duty in this regard is to oversee the kitchen. I am also a chaplain and religion teacher for our boarding school, St. Michael’s Preparatory School. I also oversee the manual labor of our seminarians in formation. Last, but not least, I say Mass at the parish on Sundays. Of all these responsibilities, I must say that working with the youth as a chaplain and teacher is something I enjoy very much. It is beautiful to be a father to all these boys and more so when they have a real need because there is no father figure at home. It is beautiful to show them the way to God and to see them strive to walk the path of life valiantly.
 
My priesthood has been an amazing blessing. To even consider what I would do if I were not a priest is somewhat foreign. However, I have no doubt that my desire would be to have a family and raise my children well. My desires as a priest would be the same as that of a father of a family, but the only difference would be the way I live it out. One grows holy by doing what they are supposed to be doing here and now. That is exactly what I would be trying to figure out in life, doing God’s will.
 
This reminds me of my experience at Damien High School. Figuring out God’s will is not the easiest as a young teenager. Sometimes it is easy to think that DHS offers you a good education, good sports, clubs etc. While that is true, that is not what I remember most. The thing I remember most is the availability of daily Mass, and the friendships that I developed there with the teachers and students. Much of this was brought to light through the retreats that were offered there. It is amazing how much the retreats, esp. Kairos, help you to grow in self-knowledge and in love for your classmates. I do appreciate the friendships I formed with the teachers, but I do not wish to praise only one of them. To one degree or another they all helped me and I am very grateful for that. Those most dear to me know who they are, and they know how they have helped me foster my priestly heart.
 
My philosophy in life is to love God above all things and then my neighbor. Truly this includes gratitude for God’s many gifts and blessings. It also includes a total abandonment of self and moving forward with Him, and never alone. In our society today, God and neighbor are often pushed away, and ME, or “I” become the center. This leads to nothing but a false happiness. Dear brethren of the DHS community pick up your cross and follow Christ. We have all been given much and we cannot simply sit on those gifts. It is time to go against the current and make a difference. May God bless you all and please remember me in your prayers.
 
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Miguel Gaspar Batres, O. Praem.
Class of 2004
 
A Spartan Snapshot of Fr. Batres

Age: 31

Hometown: Pomona
 
Assignment: Abbey Provisor, Chaplain, religion teachers, Sunday parish.
 
What did you study in college?
Liberal arts (theology, philosophy, math).
 
Why did you want to be a Priest?
God’s calling.
 
How old where you when you decided to become a Priest?
As young as I can remember.
 
What influences you most to become a Priest?
The example of holy priests and people.
 
If you weren’t a Priest, what would you be doing?
Raising a family.
 
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Rest and be grateful for God’s many blessings.
 
What does Damien High School mean to you?
A place where God helped me take steps to improve my life.
 
What is your favorite Damien High School memory?
Friendships and retreats.
 
Who was your favorite teacher at Damien High School? Why?
All of their friendships were invaluable.
 
What is the most important thing you learned at Damien High School?
To walk with God always and to not always be caught up on others’ imperfections and shortcomings. God bless you.