Alberto Carbajal Comes to La Grange From Agricultural Roots in Mexico

Rev. Alberto Carbajal, the new pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, arrived in La Grange at the beginning of July. The Record caught up with him last Friday to talk about his new job.

Carbajal grew up in Huejuquilla el Alto in the Mexican state of Jalisco. He comes from a deeply religious family of five sisters and three brothers. One of his brothers is also a priest, and one of his sisters is a nun.

His family raised corn and cattle in Mexico, along with a fruit orchard.

“I have many great memories of my grandparents, but the best memory of them is their generosity,” he said. “My grandparents would give fruits and corn to neighbors and people in need. They taught us to be generous with our time, talent and treasure.”

Carbajal moved to Austin as a teenager in 1991 to reunite with his mother and father, who immigrated to Texas earlier. He attended Lamar, Dobie high schools before graduating from McCallum High School. After that, Carbajal worked in construction, restaurants and even a nursing home. During that time he remained active in his parish, attending mass regularly and serving as a youth minister.

“I believe that God is always calling us toward a vocation, but we are not always good at listening,” Carbajal said.

He joined Saint Joseph Seminary College in Covington, Louisiana, in 2005. Nine days after he arrived in Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina struck the state. Carbajal and his fellow seminarians spent the next few months ministering to those in need.

About five years ago, shortly before his ordination, Carbajal’s superiors assigned him to Sacred Heart in La Grange as a deacon. He served the parish for about a year while traveling to Houston for studies every other week.

“During that time I got a good feel for the community,” he said.

His first two assignments after ordination were as an associate pastor at St. Louis King of France and St. Albert the Great in Austin.

“When I was told that I was appointed pastor of La Grange, I was very happy and I am still joyful, because La Grange reminds me of my hometown back in Mexico,” he said.

Carbajal arrived in La Grange just in time for the Catholic Heart Work Youth Camp, which took place July 21 to 27. More than 120 teenagers and adults from around the country came to La Grange to perform service work around town. The volunteers slept in the classrooms at Sacred Heart school.

“Some of their service project included mowing grass, painting and little remodeling, and one of the groups built a ramp for a person who was struggling to get in and out of her house,” Carbajal said. “We had a get together afterwards and some of those who were served gave testimonials. It was awesome to hear their gratitude.”

He recalled one testimonial from a Hurricane Harvey survivor who received some home repairs from the volunteers.

“They said, ‘To see teenagers come together to help, this brought a lot of hope to us,’” Carbajal said.

“It was great for the teenagers, because this is our mission: to love God, to have a connection with the people and to serve,” he said. “I would love to have it again and to invite even more people.”

Carbajal enjoys a few hobbies during his spare time, including gardening and cycling.

“I have a garden next to my house, and this is a hobby I picked up after moving here, because I want to have a connection with people who farm and work in agriculture,” he said. “Right now I’m growing some squash, green beans and cucumbers. They’re making it, but it has been a really tough summer.”

Carbajal said he loves to watch nature documentaries on television. He also enjoys watch and playing sports, especially basketball and soccer. Carbajal said he plans to attend volleyball and football games at La Grange High School this fall. In addition, he enjoys cycling.

“When I was in Austin I rode my bike everywhere,” he said. “I even went to anoint people in the hospital on my bicycle.”

“Here, I’ve been exploring the backroads, because Highway 71 can be a little dangerous on a bike,” he added.

Carbajal said he looks forward to working with his fellow local religious leaders in the La Grange Ministerial Alliance. He also looks forward to meeting everyone in the community.

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La Grange, TX 78945
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