The Ordination of Bishop Jorge Rodriguez

 

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Today, November 4th, the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo, St. John Vianney Seminary rejoices, at the episcopal ordination of Father Jorge Rodriguez, former vice rector of SJV.

While biographical insights on the new bishop’s life can be found on the Denver Catholic’s website, we decided to sit down with two of our seminarians in order to receive their perspectives on the new bishop.

J.T. Kennelly is a fourth year theologian studying for the Diocese of Fargo and had the privilege of living with Bishop Rodriguez when bishop was the House Father of Christ the King.

Christopher Considine is a second year theologian of the Archdiocese of Denver who has come to know His Excellency through various interactions. Here is our interview with them.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself in a couple sentences and how you have come to know Father Jorge?

    J.T I’m a seminarian for the Diocese of Fargo in my last year of formation here at St. John Vianney Seminary.  I came to know Fr. Jorge in my first year studying theology.  On top of having Fr. Jorge as a professor, I was assigned to live at Christ the King parish house of which Fr. Jorge was the house Father, as well as my formation director.

    C.C. I came to the seminary in the fall of ’11, and at that time Fr. Jorge was the vice rector and house father of Christ this King.  I saw him in this role for several years.  Even for having a high amount of authority he always came across as approachable and humble.  Later I had Fr. Jorge in class for Fundamental Theology.  He was a very good teacher who had an ability for placing what we were learning within the whole schema of the Church and Her history.

  2. What was your reaction to the news of his episcopacy?

    J.T. I was overjoyed to hear that he had been named auxiliary bishop of Denver (Also, I kind of laughed a bit to myself, because Fr. Jorge was known to joke about being made a bishop, so it was kind of hard to believe when it actually happened!).  I had been hoping and praying that he would be chosen for such an office, for many reasons including his joy, pastoral care for others, Hispanic background, as well as his theological knowledge.

    C.C. I first found that it was humorous because he had joked, in all humility, that he was going to be made a bishop one day.  I definitely saw this as mere banter and jokes, for I didn’t see him as a “ladder climber” at all.  He is a humble man who doesn’t take himself too seriously.
        Then I was very thankful to God that he provided us with a good bishop.  He is a very holy and virtuous man and I am thankful that he will help to lead this diocese.  And because of this, when I heard the news, I thought to myself, “that makes a lot of sense, good choice Pope.”
        I also received the news with the joy of a son whose Dad just won some big time award. I was happy, not because of the title, but because it was my dad.  Granted, the episcopacy is not an award, but it does come as a recognition of his holiness and ability to be a father to the Church on a greater scale.  
  3. What was he like as a professor/ formator?

    J.T.
    As a professor he was fair but challenging.  In his Fundamental Theology class he enjoyed leading discussions with us to where we would find ourselves either logically trapped or heretics.  This was one of his ways of trying to get us to think more deeply about these matters (Also, I think this is one of the ways that he liked to keep himself entertained while teaching!).
        I lived with Fr. Jorge in his last year as seminary formator.  He was very good at being present when he needed to be, but not overbearing at difficult times during the school year.  He also led by example.  Aside from praying with us, one of the things I remember well was after our weekly formal dinner he would send us off to spend time together as a community while he would do all of the dishes by himself.

    C.C. He was an incredibly balanced professor who was able to fit what we were learning into the greater context of the Church and her life.  When he taught, he made sure that we knew why it mattered.  Also, he had a great breadth in his knowledge so as to give us multiple angles of understanding both the material and the varying opinions surrounding it. He also had some very dry humor thrown in at random times which were gems if I was able to catch them.
  4. What are some qualities you have noticed in Father that you find edifying?

    J.T. His sense of humor, love for others, and his easygoing personality are all admirable qualities.  He also has an incredibly strong work ethic.  I think that while he was at the seminary he did a lot of work behind the scenes for which he didn’t get much credit, which attests to his humility.

    C.C. I find that he associates with the lowly and seeks out the sorrowing.  He also has a very fatherly presence about him that makes me know that he cares about me and that I can be open and honest with him. He is a man who loves the Church and is her son.  He has a great view of Her as a whole. I am edified that in his conversations he is more willing to talk about another’s life than his own. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. I was once having interior trouble and intellectual confusion and he was very gentle and consoling towards me.
  5. Do you have any funny story you would like to share?

    C.C. He subbed for one of our philosophy classes and was asked to talk about the metaphysical principle of being.  So, he starts class as says, “Today we are going to talk about being… black being, pinto being… ahh.”
        Also, his phone rang in class once and he told us, “Hold on, I need to see if this is Francis asking for some more advice…”For me this was funny because he wasn’t being serious, yet a part of me actually believed that if the Pope himself were to ask Fr. Jorge a question, he would be able to give very wise and pertinent advice.
  6. What would be your prayer for his episcopal ministry?

    J.T. My prayer for his episcopal ministry is simply that he doesn’t lose his connection to and love for the people he serves, especially the ever-growing Hispanic community here in the archdiocese.

    C.C. That he continues to show the mercy and compassion of the Father to the people of Denver.
  7. Any additional comments insights?

    C.C. He is a very humble man who loves individual people, as opposed to “people” in general.  He loves Chris, Sofia, Estevan and Emma, not merely “my people.”  It shows that he has a heart like Christ who himself died for real, actual individuals.
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