By Tanya Connor
People from near and far rejoiced Saturday at the ordination of the diocese’s two newest priests: Father Wilmar Jair Ramos Mosquera and Father Diego Arney Buritica Zuluaga, both from Colombia.
At the beginning of the bilingual Mass at St. Paul Cathedral, Bishop McManus welcomed their families and friends, noting that some had traveled great distances for this important day.
As well-wishers warmly embraced Father Buritica after Mass, his cousin Luis Zea said more than 40 relatives and friends had come from Colombia for the occasion. He said he and five others came from New Jersey, and a few others came from Virginia, Florida or Los Angeles.
“We are so proud and happy about Diego’s ordination,” Mr. Zea said. “He’s a very special person in our family. We grew up together. We are witnesses (to) all his love for the community – since he was in high school.” He said his cousin’s soul is very pure and he is always happy.
At the reception in the Cathedral’s Cenacle, Mary Congdon, of St. John Paul II Parish in Southbridge, said she’s going to Colombia for Father Ramos’ first Mass. She was included in a photo of him and his parents, brother and a priest-friend, who all came in from Colombia.
“I befriended him when he first came” here, she said of Father Ramos. “I feel blessed. … I’ve enjoyed his friendship, seen him grow.”
Edward Sullivan said he was the first parishioner to meet Father Ramos when he came from Southbridge to Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Leominster, his second seminarian assignment in the diocese. He said Father Ramos “made an impression” there.
“It’s exciting to see that he is finally … able to be a priest,” said Mr. Sullivan’s wife, Elaine Sullivan, adding that it was a long journey from Colombia, where Father Ramos studied for years to be a priest.
Father Ramos’ first Mass was Sunday, June 5, at St. John Paul II Parish. His first Mass in Colombia is scheduled for June 19. Bishop McManus assigned Father Ramos to serve as associate pastor of Annunciation Parish in Gardner. He is to begin serving there on July 14, after returning from Colombia.
Father Buritica also spent years preparing for the priesthood in Colombia before coming to the Worcester Diocese to live out his vocation.
Gerry and Susan Sullivan, of St. Mary Parish in Shrewsbury, where Father Buritica served, brought their four children to the ordination. They said this was the first time they did this.
“It’s nice for the family to see,” said Mr. Sullivan. Mrs. Sullivan said they’re so proud of Father Buritica.
“The people of St. Mary’s are thrilled for Diego,” said the pastor, Msgr. Michael F. Rose. “They’ve had a chance to watch him grow these past two years.” He said the parishioners had been looking forward to meeting Father Buritica’s family. Father Buritica celebrated his first Mass Sunday, June 5, at St. Mary’s
The new priest’s first Mass in Colombia is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 18 at his home parish there, San Joaquin in Medellin. He is to return July 15 to serve as associate pastor in St. Leo Parish in Leominster.
Editor’s note: For more photos see Photo Galleries.
A video of the ordination Mass may be viewed online at www.worcesterdiocese.org.
St. Mary’s Media Ministry also recorded Father Buritica’s first Mass there. It can be viewed online at: https://youtu.be/6RO10C9Fhlg.