Dear People of Saint Anne,
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself-my name is Fr. Rodolfo G. Ramirez-your new associate pastor. I am the sixth of eleven children; I have five brothers and five sisters. I was born in a small farming community in the center of Mexico in the state of Aguascalientes. In case you are wondering where that is, Aguascalientes is located between the states of Zacatecas and Jalisco; the closest most well-known city is Guadalajara.
I was blessed being born into a very religious family; my mother is a very faithful woman from whom I learned my first prayers. I still remember some of them and, very often, I say them when I feel down or miss my family. Growing up, I went to church every Sunday with my parents and my brothers and sisters, something I still like to do when I visit them.
In May 2002, I was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Francis George. Since then, I have served in different parishes in the Archdiocese. And now, I am so excited to finally be here among you. Even though I was named your new associate pastor in May 2019, it is now that I begin my ministry here. I want to thank Cardinal Cupich and the Archdiocesan placement board for their trust and confidence in assigning me here. I also want to thank Fr. Bernie for seeking me out and inviting me to Saint Anne. I have enjoyed working with him in the past, and I have learned a great deal about how to minister and serve the people entrusted to our spiritual care. In coming here, I have great confidence that I will still learn so much from him. I am grateful to call Fr. Bernie, not only a brother priest but also a great friend and mentor. Even though I have not worked with Fr. Joji yet, I have come to know and respect him as a brother priest. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be here among you and to serve and minister together with both of them.
I have been on sabbatical for the last six months. Being able to take a sabbatical was such a wonderful experience. It has been a great opportunity for a spiritual renewal and time to pray and relax. The policy of the Archdiocese is that in taking a sabbatical, one must divide it into three main parts-spiritual renewal, some ongoing formation/ learning experience and some time for rest. As part of my spiritual renewal, I decided to partake in the 30-day retreat (the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola). I was blessed to do that in St. Ignatius’ native place in Northern Spain. After the retreat, I hiked the 500 miles from Camino de Santiago from St. Jean Pied du Port (southern France) to Santiago de Compostela. I hope that now that I’m here together with Fr. Joji, Fr. Bernie may be able to take a well-deserved and long-awaited sabbatical.
For my ongoing formation/learning experience, I spent 7 weeks with the Franciscan community of Mission San Solano in southern Arizona. Their main ministry is serving the Tohono O’odham Nation (the largest Indian reservation in the country). Then, I went to Mexico to be with my family for Christmas, something I have not done in a very long time. In the future, I’ll be sharing more with you about this wonderful and life-changing experience.
I am so looking forward to come to know you and for you to know me. I have heard only good things about this wonderful faith community. I hope and pray that our years together will be marked by a deep friendship and service for the sake of the Gospel.
In the Love of Christ,
Fr. Rodolfo G. Ramirez