Mid-America's Fr. Francisco Ramirez was mentioned in a recent edition of the Rocky Mountain News. Pastor of Annunciation Catholic Church in Denver, Fr. Francisco returned from his mission work in Mexico less than a year ago to begin his new assignment. The article had this to say:
The vigil, I learn, is not tied to a particular death. "It is tied to life," says the church's new pastor, Father Francisco Ramirez. It is an announcement of his intent. A Colorado native, he spent much of the last 23 years as a Capuchin- Franciscan brother before becoming ordained. Annunciation is his first parish.
"I want to build bridges," he tells me. "But I am not so naive as to believe that all we have to do is pray for peace. We are going to have to work to create peace instead of havoc."
On this point, he has already been tested.
He tells me this story. Last December, about three months after he came to Annunciation, one of the neighborhood residents broke into the church. The burglar used a dumbbell to beat at the door. He broke one of the gorgeous century-old stained glass windows. Once inside, he left a turkey carcass on the altar. He stole the processional cross and an altar lantern.
A young man was arrested and charged; the stolen items recovered. "He has mental issues, maybe drug problems, as well," the priest says. In a meeting with the district attorney's office, Father Francisco dismissed the idea of restitution. "With what?" he says. "He has nothing. He is a sick man."