My name is José María Hernández Martínez, although my friends call me Pepe. On August the 7th of 1952 I was born in Murcia, Spain. Whilst still a boy, I entered the Congregation of the Claretian Missionaries and, after some years of seminary, in 1968 I was able to take my first religious vows. After studying Theology in Granada and in Rome, in 1981 I began lecturing at the Theological Faculty of Granada. Since that time, I have been also collaborated in the formation of our young Missionaries, until I was recently appointed to Rome in September 2017.
Throughout these years, I was given the opportunity to visit Zimbabwe several times. My first visit was at the end of November 1998. I came here commissioned by the Provincial Government of Betica to look for a place in which we could achieve the missionary foundation envisaged by the Provincial Chapter. After many consultations with ecclesiastical authorities and representatives in Harare, a personal visit to the diocese of Gokwe and some other contacts with the Bishop, this place was finally chosen as the site for our missionary project.
Since then, I have been in Zimbabwe three other times. The longest one was a sabbatical year that I enjoyed in 2014. It allowed me the opportunity to appreciate the vigorous growing of the small seed that had been planted fifteen years before. In fact, I was appointed to the Formation House in Harare, where the first Claretians born in Zimbabwe were making their first steps in our Congregation. Altogether, those nine months were for me a wonderful gift of God and I thank also my Claretian Brothers for facilitating this enriching experience. Notwithstanding the geographical distance, I love this country and treasure all its memories deeply in my heart. Tatenda!