OGDEN -- The Rev. Kenneth Vialpando's office is a simple one.
The office, in the front of the rectory of St. Joseph Catholic Church, just east of the chapel on 24th Street, shows the long history of the parish.
The sturdy old desk has a modern computer. An electric typewriter is to the side of the desk. There are a few spiritual pictures of and about Jesus Christ on the white walls, along with a chart of the apostolic succession of the popes from Peter to Benedict XVI.
One space at the very bottom corner of the chart is empty -- to be filled by a photo of the newly selected Pope Francis.
St. Joseph has been part of Ogden since 1899. Its church is known as the Cathedral of the North and is part of the Salt Lake Diocese. St. Joseph also has an elementary school and a high school.
Vialpando loves the enthusiasm of St. Joseph's members.
"The members have really stepped up to the plate to be involved -- members of both congregations, English and Spanish," he said.
"We have many races and consider ourselves multicultural, yet we can work together as brothers and sisters. The great thing about being the pastor here is to see the people work together, pray together and have fun together,"
For example, St. Joseph has a Perpetual Adoration Chapel where people can worship 24/7, 365 days a year. The Blessed Sacrament is also available.
"It takes a lot of teamwork (to staff it)," Vialpando said. "Individuals sign up for times even if it is for an hour. Some come as couples, and others come as families."
Another example of the parish coming together is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Diana Hanebrink, the director of RCIA for St. Joseph, said there is an English and Spanish group involved in this effort.
"He (Vialpando) said we need to do this, and it has worked out wonderfully," she said.
Parish member Mike Romero echoed those thoughts, saying, "He (Vialpando) wants to let everyone into our church.He wants us to be more friendly."
Like many religious leaders, Vialpando worries about the influence of the secular world on people.
"We live in a society with instant gratification," he said. "There has to be sacrifice and self-denial. We aren't looking so much at the power of the cross (in today's world).
"The Lord says, 'Deny thyself and pick up your cross and follow me.' It is hard for the world to hear that in this day and age."
He said the key is to get back to the roots, back to Scripture, "where God has a plan and a road map for us. We need to look to the Lord as our GPS, the one who is going to lead us out of darkness."
Vialpando said the wrong thing to do is to compromise beliefs as a church or as individuals.
"We don't want to compromise our morals and values or lower the bar so people can feel comfortable," he said. "We have to raise the bar all the more. ... If the church remains strong, people are going to strive to meet that goal."
Vialpando works with an associate pastor from El Salvador. Vialpando usually celebrates Mass in English, and his associate does in Spanish. They occasionally switch.
Vialpando is familiar with Utah. He grew up in Tooele and went to public schools. He joined the Marines after high school graduation in 1979. It was during his time in the military that he decided to become a priest.
"It was the first day of boot camp when my prayers and faith began to increase. Those three famous words, 'Lord, help me. Help me get through this thing,' " he said. "I was assigned after boot camp to Camp Pendleton right by the Pacific Ocean."
Vialpando said his praying ebbed at that time because he didn't feel as troubled at Pendleton. That changed when he realized he could be transferred from Pendleton to 29 Palms California, which he said is "nothing but desert."
"I got back on my knees and said, 'Lord, please don't let them transfer me from the Pacific Ocean to the desert,' " he said, adding that he promised to go to church every Sunday, work with the youth, help the elderly, play the guitar at Mass and fulfill other commitments if he wasn't transferred.
"I found myself on a bus, heading straight for the desert," Vialpando said. "I was angry at God. I didn't want to go back to church. I felt He had let me down."
He said life was empty for him at first in the desert, but he realized God hadn't abandoned him. He had abandoned God.
Vialpando met a Marine captain who was strong at praying and had a strong relationship with God. It turned out it was in the desert that Vialpando discovered his path leading him to become a priest.
"It was a pivotal time in my life."
Vialpando studied at three seminaries in Oregon as an undergraduate and did his graduate work in Colorado and Ohio. He began his time as a priest as a teacher at Judge Memorial High School in Salt Lake City, then was a priest at the parish in Moab before returning to a parish in Salt Lake City. He came to Ogden in 2003.
Each stop brought increased responsibility. St. Joseph includes 5,000 families. He said demands on priests throughout the church are expanding with a variety of needs from the people, from those in the hospital and homebound to the incarcerated.
"Now with instantaneous messages, we get more demand and more phone calls," Vialpando said. "People want you to respond quickly. So as we (priests) grow older, the question is, can we keep up with the demands?"
He said there is a need for younger and new priests to "pick up the ball and run with it" as current priests get older.
For now, Vialpando enjoys helping his congregation through the stages of life.
"The pastors teach the people. The people teach the pastors," he said. "We are walking on this journey together, arm in arm, brothers and sisters."
The office? It is enough for the journey.