“In seeking holiness, I find purpose and fulfillment. The priesthood is my path to deepen this commitment, dedicated to serving others and mirroring God’s love in every action.”
Meet the rest of my class
My name is Tony Ramirez. I am called to live a life of liturgical prayer and service to God’s people as a religious priest with the Norbertine Fathers of Saint Michael’s Abbey. This is my story.
Growing up in Georgia and from a divorced household, my family was not very devout, only attending Mass at Christmas and Easter. I did however receive my First Holy Communion.
Things changed when I was 14. I was in California visiting my grandmother when I caught the swine flu. I was comatose and quarantined in the hospital, lost fifty pounds due to lack of nutrition, and my body was rejecting medications. Throughout it all, my grandmother never left my side, praying the rosary day and night. While I was unconscious, a priest anointed me. That night, my body went into shock; but the next morning, to the bewilderment of the doctors, I awoke perfectly healthy. My grandmother took me to church to give thanks. In front of a relic of Saint Anthony, I prayed for the first time. I began insisting on going to Mass weekly and started thinking about the priesthood.
As I entered high school, I met a priest who became an important mentor to me. He listened to me and invited me to be an altar server and to attend a discernment retreat. He taught me about priesthood and what it means to be a good and holy priest. On his advice, I attended Saint Joseph Abbey College, a seminary preparatory school, and then entered Notre Dame Major Seminary in New Orleans.
That next summer was a difficult time for the Church with the release of two scandals that really rocked my worldview. I left seminary and found myself in a period of disillusionment. What came next was truly miraculous for me.
I began working at a nearby parish and one day, a woman and her mother came in to ask about some statues there. Learning that I had been in seminary, they invited me to visit the shrine of Our Lady of Medjugorje with them, even buying me a plane ticket!
That trip was pivotal to my faith journey. In Medjugorje, I was able to find healing, regain a sense of my true self, and surrender my worries and anxieties to Our Lady. I realized that the Lord fulfills His promise to provide even when others fail me and that the Lord was not done with me yet. At the tomb of the Franciscan martyrs, my vocation returned. I entered the tomb spiritually dead; I came out of it risen to new life.
Upon my return home, I began to explore religious orders. I sought a community that held the traditions of the Church close to their hearts, longed for holiness, and celebrated the liturgy and sacraments with reverence and grandeur. I was drawn to the Norbertines: to their rule of life, holiness, character, and their desire to serve God’s people. To form good, holy, and authentic priests is the entire purpose and charism of the Norbertines.
To be a priest is to be there for people in their darkest and ugliest moments, and to be a beacon of light that helps them through the darkness, and leads them to healing and love. I want to be that beacon for others.
Please pray for me and my fellow Labouré classmates as we begin the journey to formation. Feel free to reach out with any questions you might have at: Tony@rescuevocations.org.
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