When Monsignor Rodolfo Villarreal received an honorary educational award at Christmas Day Mass in Monterrey Cathedral, Mexico, the congregation probably didn’t expect a Hare Krishna devotee to be presenting it.
But then again, it wasn’t the first time the Monsignor had invited Kesava Das Swami—who has served as a link between ISKCON and the Catholic Church for some time—to a function.
On this occasion the ISKCON guru, a professor of Mexico’s Iberoamerica University, presented Villarreal with the University’s Honoris Causa award on behalf of the Latin American Council of Education.
Although dressed in a suit rather than his traditional robes, Kesava Swami stood out with his shaved head and bright orange bag of japa prayer beads. After being introduced to the congregation of 5,000 as an Indian priest, he spoke on the importance of chanting the Holy names of the Lord and was well received.Monsignor Rodolfo Villareal, who accepted the award graciously, has been in the order since 1972 and was Parish Priest for the Church of Natividad, Monterrey County for eighteen years.
While serving later in the Lopez Mateos colony, he constructed five churches and a medical clinic, as well as a day nursery that now takes care of three hundred children. For the past eight years, he has been director of The Temple of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Maria in Monterrey.