By Francisco Hernández
“I am always nervous when I sing,” says Jackie Herrera, “but I know in my heart that God put me there and I cease to be me to allow God to use me in order to touch the hearts of others. When the music touches me and takes me to God, I feel that I can touch others.”
Herrera is a young woman who has always enjoyed singing. Her parents, seeking the best for her, did not encourage her to enter into the music world, fearing it would not provide a stable future. But she began to encounter sign after sign that this was the vocation God was calling her to follow. These were small reaffirmations that her beautiful voice helped bring others closer to God.
“My fear was that I didn’t have the training or education,” Herrera says, “but I was also reassured that I do not sing selfishly for me or to demonstrate something, but for others. I sing so God can do his work.”
“Those of us who sing religious music have been given an amazing opportunity to sing to the Lord of all creation,” she adds, admitting that she is shy and in the beginning stayed in the back of the church so no one could hear her sing. “But now I feel that God is telling me, ‘I want you to sing.’ It has been difficult but I have embraced it gladly.”
Herrera, who currently works in the Office of Catechesis in the Archdiocese of Chicago, also has a children’s choir in her parish. She desires not only to help them sing, but to become a role model for them, and walk with them. She also works with teens. “This makes me come out of my own boundaries and it is not easy. But I see that they truly need a lot of evangelization and I am excited to continue working with them. It is a great and beautiful responsibility.”
When asked about her vocation, she responds quickly and smiles, as if she has thought about it a lot. “Every person’s vocation is to seek holiness, to have God present in every moment of our daily lives. Every one of us has a talent, and at times it can seem small to us. But to give it generously will be sufficient to God and then some. Because God multiplies all that we have. Like my voice,” she says.
What talent could you offer in service of the community? In what way can God use you?