traveling to Chicago to serve month-
long stretches at the pre-novitiate
house three or four times a year.
His advice to young people
considering religious vocation: Pray
for God’s guidance and take the time
to “experiment with life, to look, to
investigate,” to consider other paths
and opportunities. Also, “trust what’s
going on in your heart. God’s inviting you to this.”
How can I make a splash?
Henson has known his whole life
what it’s like to grapple with figuring
out your place in the world.
He grew up in the suburbs of Los
Angeles. While his neighborhood was
ethnically mixed and his own family
second-generation Mexican-American, his parish was run primarily by
Irish priests. His family was not traditional in the American sense—when
he was young, his mother died and
his father left, and he grew up in his
mother’s intergenerational, bilingual
family, led by his maternal great aunt,
Luz Salcedo, who was very religious
and who gathered Henson and his
cousins regularly at dawn to pray the
rosary, sometimes in English, sometimes in Spanish.
Born in 1964, “I grew up at a
time when you were assimilated,”
Henson says. “You were supposed to
be white. You had to speak English.
You didn’t really want to speak Spanish with your classmates,” or to look
different. There wasn’t, for him, a
role model of a Mexican-American
priest. Yet he felt called to be one.
When Henson was five, Ameri-
can astronauts landed on the moon.
“I remember sitting in front of our
little black-and-white TV,” watching
those historic first steps and think-