The priest as an artist:
"I was always the kid who was doing the posters for everybody. But I didn't take (art) seriously until I was a priest. ... It came out of a need to pray and to mature in my spirituality. Art has been an integral part of my maturing."

What he did before becoming a priest:
He entered the seminary in ninth grade: "It was a different time. I would not recommend that for anybody right now."

Who was surprised by his vocation:
Everybody: "People are surprised now."

Doubts about choosing the priesthood:
"All along. Doubts never cease. Doubts are part of life. I don't consider doubts to be the opposite of faith. Doubts are part of faith. The opposite of faith is fear."

Priests who inspire him:
The late Father Daniel Sanchez of Corpus Christi, the first Cuban exile to be ordained a priest in the archdiocese; and Msgr. William Dever, pastor of St. Helen in Fort Lauderdale, where Father Sardiņas served before going to the University of Florida.

What he does on his days off:
"I hang out at my art studio, or take my dog to the dog park, or I go to the beach and have dinner with friends."

What he would be doing if he had not become a priest:
An architect or a veterinarian: "I love animals."

Greatest disappointment:
"My disappointments have been mostly with myself, by not appreciating at times how blessed I've been."

"Doubts are part of faith. The opposite of faith is fear."

Greatest joy:
"The two places where I'm most at home, where I'm lost in time, are when I celebrate the Eucharist and when I'm in my art studio."

Most difficult aspect of being a priest:
"The public side of it. Being constantly under scrutiny. I'm a very private person. People look at what color shirt you're wearing, what kind of car you're driving, what haircut you have. ... And today, with the shortage of priests, simply overwork."

Father Sardiņas and his "Michelangelo moment" - the chapel at St. Thomas University. He designed the stained glass windows, the statues, the altar, the pulpit and the baptismal font.

Most satisfying aspect of the priesthood:
"The unique, irreplaceable relationship with people in your parish. When people call you 'father' that, to me, is not a title. That's a relationship."

Priestly stereotype that should be discarded:
"That (priests) have to be superhuman. ... I'm flawed just like everybody else."

Favorite musical artists:
Mozart, U2, Sting and Celia Cruz: "I'm a hybrid."

Person, other than Christ, that he most admires:
St. Francis of Assisi: "He was God's unique work of art. There was no one like him before him and no one like him after him."

Favorite visual artists:
Michelangelo, Raphael, El Greco, Caravaggio, Van Gogh, Matisse, Rothko, Wilfredo Lam

Thing he most fears:
"Not pleasing God by fully utilizing my God-given talents. Selling God short."

His greatest accomplishment:
Designing all the liturgical appointments for St. Thomas University's new chapel - stained glass windows, statues, Stations of the Cross, altar, pulpit and baptismal font. "My Michelangelo moment... This is the accomplishment where both the priest and the artist have come together."


Professor of visual arts and curator of the art gallery at St. Thomas University

Born Oct. 2, 1950, in Havana,

Cuba, he came to the United

States in 1960 and attended

Corpus Christi and St. John

Bosco parishes in Miami.

Ordained May 14, 1977, he

served at St. Mary Cathedral,

worked with farmworkers in

Immokalee, and served as

campus minister at the

University of Miami and

Florida International

University before pursuing

art degrees at FIU and the

University of Florida. He

currently helps out at Our

Lady of the Lakes Parish in

Miami Lakes.

Archdiocese of Miami
9401 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, Florida 33138
305.762.1043 Fax 305.751.6227