Father Enrique Terriquez was joined by people from various parishes in the Magic and Treasure Valleys at Risen Christ Parish in Boise during the celebration of his 60th anniversary of ordination. (ICR photo/Vero Gutiérrez)
By Vero Gutiérrez
When asked how his vocation was born, Father Enrique Terriquez jokingly replies: “I was born in the seminary.”
His 60th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood was celebrated at a special Mass of Thanksgiving on Sept.17. Father Terriquez presided and was accompanied by Father Ben Uhlenkott, pastor of Risen Christ.
Father Terriquez is now an 83-year-old with an excellent memory who continues to be very active, helping his brother priests when they need assistance with Eucharistic celebrations. Father Terriquez, a longtime contributor to the Idaho Catholic Register, wrote his first article on September 13, 1985, with a theme concerning Catechetical Sunday. Although his eyesight has deteriorated over time, he continues to faithfully write the Gospel reflection in each issue of the ICR.
He began serving as an altar boy when he was 8 years old. In his father’s and mother’s family, he had four uncles who were priests, but Father Terriquez assures us that this fact did not influence his vocation, because he was not close to them; what influenced him was seeing the smiling faces of the seminarians who visited his parish.
At age 10, he entered the Minor Seminary of the Diocese of Colima, Mexico.
After eight years, he had already completed his basic secondary education and philosophy. At that time, it was common for seminarians to leave the seminary for a “year of teaching” and military service.
“This year opened my eyes to the world and was my first encounter with a life different from the seminary, where we practically lived a monastic life,” said Father Terriquez.
But his thoughts about secular life ended when the bishop told him he would be one of the seminarians to continue his studies at the National Pontifical Seminary of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Montezuma, New Mexico. His diocese in Colima liked to diversify the formation of its seminarians by sending them to different places, so they sent him out of Mexico.
“I have no proof, but they say the seminary in New Mexico was the first building in the Southwest to have electricity,” Father Terriquez said. Seminarians were sent there from different dioceses in Mexico with the condition that they return to their dioceses of origin when ready for ordination. “New Mexico’s bishop, Edwin Vincent Byrne, cried because he said he was the bishop who had ordained the most priests, although none for his own diocese!” Father Terriquez said.
Father Terriquez was ordained a deacon in Monte-zuma in December 1962 at the age of 22 (see picture on page 10). He graduated theology with a class of 51 seminarians, but he was not ordained a priest because the minimum age was 24, so he returned to the seminary in Mexico as a transitional deacon.
Father Terriquez with the late Bishop Michael Driscoll and Governor Butch Otter. (ICR photo)
Not long after, Father Terriquez received a letter from his bishop informing him that he was to leave immediately for a week of retreat and would be ordained a priest at the end of that same week.
On August 4, 1963, at the age of 23, he was ordained a priest by Bishop Ignacio de Alba y Hernández in the parish of San Miguel Arcángel del Espíritu Santo in Comala, Colima, Mexico.
He was the first priest to be ordained in a parish, rather than in the cathedral, as was customary. Due to the haste of the event, only his parents were present.
“Everything happened so suddenly and so quickly that it seemed like a dream,” said Father Terriquez.
Father Terriquez explained the reason for such an ordination was that the theologians of his diocese had planned a course of study that would finish with an ordination to the priesthood, thereby promoting vocations in the diocese. The bishop requested a special dispensation from the Vatican so Father Terriquez could receive priestly ordination before the required age.
After his ordination to the priesthood, Father Terriquez was appointed Assistant to the Prefect at the Minor Seminary from 1963 to 1966.
At the end of this period, he was appointed parochial vicar in Manzanillo, Colima, from 1966 to 1969. It seems incredible, but the parish’s existence was only hinted at on the map because there was no chapel or rectory.
Father Terriquez noted, “I lived in a classroom in the school and slept on two student chairs.”
From 1969 to 1972 he was sent to Sacred Heart Parish in Tecomán, Colima, and then to Santo Santiago Parish, where he stayed for almost six years.
Father Terriquez was about to change parishes when the bishop of his diocese received a visit from two priests from Idaho (one of them was Father Mauricio Medina, now retired), who had a special request that priests from Colima be sent to Alaska, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho.
The bishop agreed to send two priests for three years, one of whom was Father Enrique Terriquez. However, Father Terriquez could not leave for this mission at the scheduled time. The situation was further complicated when Bishop Ignacio de Alba resigned and the new bishop did not agree to release the two priests.
Father Terriquez found only one way to convince his new bishop. He asked him to allow him to go during his three-month vacation, and then he would return.
Father Terriquez truly believed after three months, he would return to his country where a community of the faithful was already waiting for him, but God had another plan for him.
He arrived in Idaho on August 24, 1980. At that time, the education offices of the Diocese of Boise were located in a mobile home in the parking lot of Bishop Kelly High School, mentioned Father Terriquez.
His first assignment was to assist St. Agnes Parish in Weiser, where the pastor was Father Joseph Muha who was in Colombia learning Spanish.
When Father Terriquez finished his time in Weiser and was driving back to Mexico, a police officer stopped him near California and gave him this message:
“Are you Enrique Terriquez? We received a call from your employer, Bishop Sylvester Treinen, and he said do not cross the border into Mexico because he needs you.”
When Father Terriquez arrived at the home of his sister, who lived in California, he received a call from the Bishop asking him to return because he needed his support. Father Terriquez returned to Idaho after telling his diocese in Colima not to wait for him because Bishop Treinen asked him to stay longer.
Bishop Treinen interceded and made new arrangements between the dioceses so that Father Terriquez could continue serving here.
He was appointed pastor of St. Therese The Little Flower in Burley, where he served for 12 years. He also assisted at Our Lady of the Valley in Caldwell for 10 years when it was St. Mary’s parish and finally, at Holy Spirit Parish in Pocatello for six years before retiring.
He has been a retired priest for 13 years and was the first to arrive at the St. John Vianney Retirement Center in Boise, where he currently resides.
“What I enjoyed most in my years as a priest was the contact with the people. I learned a lot from them, and they taught me practical theology,” said Father Terriquez.
“When I was a seminarian, I believed that we knew and people did not know; it was a big mistake. Faith does not depend on books, although they enrich it; faith is learned because people are wise, gifted with the Holy Spirit. That is the foundation of faith. I am very grateful to the Church of Idaho, where parish life is admirable; the people have loved me as much as I love them,” he concluded.
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