Get to Know SJND’s New Campus Minister
We welcomed Mr. Francisco Herrera as SJND’s new Campus Minister and theology teacher this fall. A talented musician born in the border town of Calexico, Mr. Herrera grew up playing music at family events, but as he became more involved in the church and social issues, in particular with the Latin American community, he began exploring ways to use music to further his goals of social justice. Mr. Herrera has spent lots of time traveling throughout Latin America working with community organizations, even while finishing his four years at seminary school, all the while toting his guitar and whipping it out for performances. Today, in addition to leading our school’s ministry program, Mr. Herrera continues to record and sell music.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite thing about ministering at SJND is the interaction and collaboration with the students, staff and faculty, during which I get to learn from others. I also thoroughly enjoy working with others to organize the campus celebrations, gatherings, retreats, and songs. Everyone here is very welcoming, ready to get down to work and it is a lot of fun...The students bring much life and the faculty and staff are always finding solutions, responding to the needs of others and thinking up new and exciting activities.
You are a talented musician; tell us about your music. Who/what influences your music?
I have been a musician since I was a child. All kinds of music styles and forms have influenced me, oldies like José Feliciano and the Mexican Trío crooner music, rock, I even did some punk rock in the early 80s, and of course R&B, soul music, and hip-hop always filters a little into what I do. All of that music is sacred music, but I also love to produce prayerful music and liturgical songs. I joined my first choir in elementary school when I was 11 years old and my first instrument was the accordion at four years old. What influences me most is the desire to write about everyday little things, the things we don't tend to think about because they are so common. My latest recording is about our children, who many times are not noticed, but really, we could not live without them. It's titled "Our Children Are Sacred," and it is on Spotify, iTunes and the other platforms. I am very excited to be at SJND and find all of the musicality and artistry among the community here. I look forward to writing some new songs with folks here.
What is one thing about your field that may surprise people?
Prayer can be a very enjoyable, fun and simple thing. I find that there is a stiffness with many people when the word “prayer” is even spoken. I very much look forward to creating prayer opt-ins, so we can develop creative and appropriate ways to flow with events, classes and meetings in prayerful ways. I also look forward to developing more prayer in song because everything changes when we sing together.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Music moves the heart.
If you had to save one thing from your burning office, what would it be?
The fire extinguisher.