Life Of A Brave: Unsung Hero, Bosco’s Spiritual Director Fr. Ted Montemayor, SDB
by Christian Angel, Managing Editor
St. John Bosco High School’s well-known personality and Spiritual Director, Fr. Ted Montemayor, follows the model of Don Bosco in order to make our school feel like a “second home.”
Fr. Ted is one of the most prominent figures at St. John Bosco, where students have experienced Fr. Ted in the halls during the school day, through his famous “Good Mornings” when school starts or during his poignant homilies during monthly Masses. In his role as Spiritual Director, he ensures to make sure Bosco is a home to all our students, families and staff.
Born on December 13, 1952 in Laredo, Texas, a small border-town near San Antonio toward the Mexican border, Fr. Ted grew up within the Salesian community from a young age. Fr. Ted attended a grammar school under the leadership of the Salesian Sisters and later on decided to join a high school seminary in Watsonville, California to soon begin his ministry.
As a kid, Fr. Ted was inspired to be a priest through his strong family who was close to the Salesian Sisters and through missionary priests that would give them talks and worked with indigenous communities in Mexico. One notable person Fr. Ted credits in his life is his twin sister, who he sometimes mentions in his homilies or in his “Good Morning” messages and passed away when he moved out to California to become a priest.
“We were five kids, I was the youngest alongside my twin sister. My twin sister and I parted ways when I went to high school,” said Fr. Ted. “My family always supported me, although they thought I was still too young to leave…. But my twin sister makes me reflect, as we came from the same womb, as she was a very giving and receiving person and loved me very much.”
For six years from 2014-2020, prior to his return to Bellflower, California and St. John Bosco, Fr. Ted served as the Provincial for the United States Western Province, tasked with to progressing the Salesian community throughout the west. Through his work as Provincial, he traveled a lot meeting new people within the Salesian community, but now in his role as Spiritual Director, he enjoys staying home and within the Bellflower community, building bonds and inspiring change in his own backyard.
His current role is very important and often misunderstood. Often the role of the Spiritual Director is viewed by many as the “head” of the organization.
“For St. John Bosco, the Director role was the director of the mission, parish, school, boys and girls club. Whether he runs it or not, [the Director] becomes the symbol of Don Bosco in the presence to defend the charism to make sure the place is ‘Salesian’ and to spot things that are ‘not Salesian,’ as he is the center of unity, ” said Fr. Ted.
Fr. Ted is also still involved in the Salesian community outside of St. John Bosco High School. One role is being present and serving the other Salesian priests and brothers. As Fr. Ted may not be able to be everywhere, his time involves being with the elderly community and organizing events, such as buying food for a particular gathering, doing Baptisms and funerals for our former alumni and even evening Saturday masses for the military in Los Alamitos.
Fr. Ted embodies the mission of Salesianity by trying using the model of Don Bosco to focus on the youth and the community. One of the gifts of Don Bosco gave his students was being present with them, which is one of the key elements of the Salesian charism, and Fr. Ted hopes to inspire students through the words he speaks to be better people.
“I really try to be that kind presence that Don Bosco wanted us to be,” Fr. Ted said. “To help people and to create an environment to make people feel like home.”