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Monday, July 24, 2017

Welcome Deacon Ruben Villalon Rivera


Our Tri-Parish Community has been asked by Sacred Heart Seminary in Milwaukee to assist Deacon Ruben as he prepares for ordination to the priesthood next spring.  He will be at our parishes on various weekends to preach the homily at the Masses.  Afterward, a group of parishioners will offer feedback and suggestions to him.  We welcome Deacon Ruben to our communities and look forward to hearing him share the Word of God with us.  Below is his introduction. 


I was born on August 3, 1976, in Mexico, I am the middle of three children. Before I wanted to become a priest, I was a chef in an Italian restaurant. I worked at that job for about twelve years. But then something happened and I felt a call to prayer for the first time. I have to say that I was not a prayerful person before, but the desire to know God and his Word lead me to read the Scriptures and to pray very often. I was invited to visit a chapel to pray one day. Once inside the chapel I felt a deep peace throughout my whole being. That was something different than I had never experienced before. That experience drew me closer to the Church’s life. I started to go to Mass every Sunday and to go to confession every time that I felt I needed it.


People around me noticed a change in my life because I started to renounce the things of the world to be closer to God. After a few years of discernment, I went to the seminary in the city of Morelia, Mexico.  The mission of the seminary was to send vocations to places in need. My first year there, a priest from the diocese of Memphis, Tennessee, came to the seminary in Morelia and invited me to check out the need for priests in Memphis. I was doing my mission every year in Memphis from that time on, but without being part of the diocese because I didn’t know if God wanted me there. After three years of discernment and prayer, I accepted to study for the diocese of Memphis.


When I finished six years of formation, including three years of philosophy, the diocese of Memphis wanted me to study theology in the States. I took one month of an intensive ESL program (English as a Second Language) in 2012. When I finished the ESL program in August 2012 I arrived in Milwaukee to begin with more ESL and pre-theology. This is my fifth year in the seminary and I was ordained a deacon this past June 4th, and I’m back at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology for my last year.


In Memphis I’ll been assigned full time to two particular parishes in different times. The first one is Immaculate Conception in Union City, TN, and the second one is Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Memphis, TN.  Imagine to my surprise and coincidence when I was asked to come to Immaculate Conception in Burlington, as well as St. Charles in Burlington and St. Joseph in Lyons.  Know that I will keep you all in my prayers. Please also pray for me and for the increase of vocations to the priesthood.

Your brother in Christ,

Dcn. Ruben Villalon Rivera