Fr Pariza´s early years
He is known simply as “Fr Pariza”. Few are aware that his full name is José María López de Pariza y de Somonte.
Pariza was born in
a town in the North of Spain, almost 96 years ago, on 13 May 1917. It was an auspicious date,
marking the apparition of Our Lady to those three little children of Fatima. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Fr
Pariza´s love and confidence in Our Lady have no limits!
His father was a much respected engineer in one of the biggest factories of
His mother belonged to a family with many connections in the pharmaceutical
world. So they could afford to send their children to the best available
Fr Pariza, besides being a fast football player, was from the very beginning one of the best students of the School’ and at that, in both Arts and Science. Every one took for granted that like his dad he, too, had engineering in his blood. That however, was not God’s dreams for him. After High School he would join the Jesuits, far away from his people, in
since the Jesuits had been expelled from Spain. Even now he finds it difficult
to explain how he became a Jesuit, when he had had hardly any contact with them
Jesuit life was congenial to him: being close to the Lord, having a flexible daily time-table with Latin, Greek, French, Philosophy… to learn; and, chiefly, many young people like him, with whom to share books, games, long walks and infinite dreams. Frs Juan Gil, Azpitarte, Zubeldia, Echániz… were some of his many friends.
Complete happiness cannot be found in this world. All of a sudden, war broke out in
and people were called to the Army. Our young Jesuit was one of them. Since he
was not ready to kill or to do any harm to the enemies, he was assigned to the clerical
work of his battalion. That would allow him to do his best for many soldiers
that were in need of advice and of military certificates. All the same, one may
be amazed to know that our then young Brother Pariza was about to be sent to
prison. Discipline in that army in war was sacred. The phrase “more or less” was
unknown to them. One day, one of his officers gave him car and driver for a
concrete job. When coming back they met with a small accident. So car, driver
and young Jesuit were late by about two hours. The officer, who was in urgent
need of the car, was simply fuming. His sentence of ten days of jail for both
driver and Jesuit left no possibility for appeal. Believe it not, Brother
Pariza was delighted to hear that. He had been trying for some months, in vain,
to find time for his 8-day Retreat, and
where could he find it better… more time and more peace… than in jail? One may
be further surprised to learn that, once he had calmed down, the officer
retracted his sentence and a disappointed Brother Pariza had to dream for a
better occasion to have his Retreat in peace...
War and Jesuit studies completed, Fr Pariza, as expected by all, was appointed to get a difficult degree in the University; which was, of course, in Physics. Prayer and reflection had convinced him that his heart was more attuned to people than to high mathematics or to scientific theories. But, of course, the will of the Lord would come first. And the Lord made his will super-evident to him and to his Superiors: