Darwin Josue Mejia Montoya credits prayers — particularly to Mary — for enabling him to be one of the few individuals granted asylum in the United States from the Central American country.
STORM LAKE, Iowa (CNS) — Darwin Josue Mejia Montoya could have been shot during protests in Nicaragua last year. He also could still be languishing in a detention center in Arizona, after escaping the violence.
But Montoya credits prayers — particularly to Mary — for enabling him to be one of the few individuals granted asylum in the United States from the Central American country.
Speaking through interpreter Araceli Reyes, assistant for Hispanic ministry at St. Mary Parish in Storm Lake, Montoya recalled his calmness while waiting to hear if he would be granted asylum.
“I was never nervous that day,” he told The Catholic Globe, newspaper of the Sioux City Diocese. “I had previously been nervous at the other court dates, but that day, I earlier turned to Psalm 70 and just knew whatever was going to happen, I would be all right.”
The youngest of six children, Montoya grew up in Boaco, Nicaragua. His parish is Parroquia de Santiago Apostol (Parish of St. James the Apostle) — where he received the sacraments of baptism, Communion and confirmation. One of the priests who served at Santiago was Father Sergio Antonio Alvarez Aleman, with whom “Darwin is a good friend,” explained Father Tim Friedrichsen, pastor of St. Mary in Storm Lake and Sacred Heart in Early.
“Padre Sergio is now the pastor at Santa Lucia,” Father Friedrichsen said of his church’s sister parish. “I met both Padre Sergio and Darwin when I first visited Nicaragua in January of 2016.”
Montoya would join Father Friedrichsen and Father Sergio on some of their day trips three years ago.
“Darwin did the same when I visited again in January of 2018,” Father Friedrichsen said. “We have been Facebook ‘amigos’ since 2016.”
Following his high school graduation, Montoya studied computer engineering and got a job at a diocesan Catholic school.
“During this time, I did a lot of service work,” he said. “I joined the Association of the Miraculous Medal and we evangelized in the rural areas.” He ultimately became president of the group and learned more about the struggles people were experiencing.