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Our Lady of Angels’ new pastor is installed on Mother’s Day

News of the Diocese

May 16, 2024

Our Lady of Angels’ new pastor is installed on Mother’s Day
Our Lady of Angels’ new pastor is installed on Mother’s Day
Our Lady of Angels’ new pastor is installed on Mother’s Day
Our Lady of Angels’ new pastor is installed on Mother’s Day
Our Lady of Angels’ new pastor is installed on Mother’s Day
Our Lady of Angels’ new pastor is installed on Mother’s Day
Our Lady of Angels’ new pastor is installed on Mother’s Day
Our Lady of Angels’ new pastor is installed on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day, which also was the solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, had special significance this year for Father Rob Ramser and his family.

On that day – May 12 – Bishop Edward Malesic installed Father Ramser as the 11th pastor of Our Lady of Angels Parish in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood. Father Ramser, who has a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, dedicated his pastorate to Our Lady of Angels after the Mass. He placed a large bouquet of flowers below her statue and spent some time in silent prayer.

(See photo gallery above.)

For his installation Mass, Father Ramser donned a special blue and white vestment that first was worn in 1969 by Cardinal Archbishop Karol Wojtyla of Krakow, Poland – later St. Pope John Paul II – when he celebrated Mass at the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus in Cleveland. Since the vestment was worn by the late pope, who was canonized in 2014, it is considered a relic. St. Stanislaus was the first church in the United States where the future pontiff celebrated Mass during his visit. Father Ramser, who has Polish heritage, is a son of the parish.

OLA’s church was nearly filled with the new pastor’s family, friends, fellow clergy members and faithful from his past and current parishes. The Knights of Columbus and Knights of the Holy Sepulchre also were present.

Before Mass, Father Ramser took an oath promising fidelity to the Church and obedience to the bishop. He and Bishop Malesic also signed documents formalizing his appointment as pastor.

In a special nod to Mother’s Day, prior to the start of Mass, Father Ramser announced that all mothers from OLA – living and dead – would be remembered in a special Mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

As the liturgy began, the bishop told the congregation he was aware of their spiritual needs and introduced Father Ramser as their new pastor, which drew applause from the congregation. OLA was guided by the Franciscans (Order of Friars Minor, Sacred Heart Province) until 1987, when it was returned to the care of the Diocese of Cleveland. The parish celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1922.

Reflecting on the Gospel and Scripture readings, the new pastor said Ascension is a day not to stand still, but to go, to get busy with the Lord’s mission.

“In his Gospel, Mark cut to the chase,” Father Ramser said, explaining that Jesus told his disciples, “’Go and do marvelous things in my name.’ He told them not to be in fear because they have what it takes to do the mission. Just look at all Jesus did between the Resurrection and the Ascension,” he said.

“Jesus strengthened his apostles to be the leaders of the new Church. He gave them the power to forgive sins. Jesus did all this for us,” he said, adding our response should be to go, to live lives of grace and to spread his word.

“God survived and we have survived. God never told us to be successful in the world. He said to be faithful. We are baptized in the Holy Spirit. We received the Eucharist, confession and confirmation as gifts of the Holy Spirit,” he said, adding the other sacraments of marriage, holy orders, anointing of the sick are also gifts to strengthen us.

“This (earth) is not our final home. God plants the seed and we make it grow. God’s mission, his word, has never changed,” he said.

Father Ramser noted that his first Mass as a newly ordained priest was on the solemnity of the Ascension, so it was providential that his installation as OLA pastor was on the same feast day. He also credited his family for supporting him, including his parents and all four grandparents, “who have the best seats in the heaven.”

He said we should not be nervous or afraid of our mission. “We’re not a Church of antiquities. The Church is alive. It is here to help us grow and go into the future, to go into the world and be the hands and feet of Jesus and to love people in need,” Father Ramser added.

The bishop said he likes to have the new pastor preach at his installation Mass for two reasons: “Even the bishop needs to hear the word and I like to know what I’m giving you in the way of pastor. You’re getting a good one,” he said.

OLA is a welcoming, vibrant parish, the bishop said. He encouraged the faithful to support Father Ramser as he works on their behalf. “Encourage him. Stand behind him and support him,” he said.

The bishop also asked the congregation to be aware of their vocation call, no matter what it might be – marriage, single life, vowed religious, priesthood, etc.

“We need more faithful priests so if you know someone who might make a good priest, please encourage and pray for him,” he said.

After Mass, the bishop greeted parishioners, posed for photos and mingled with guests in the parish hall at a reception to celebrate the new pastor.

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