August 2022 Four County Catholic
“So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me empty, but shall do what pleases me,
achieving the end for which I sent it.”
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Many people have influence on the direction our lives take. Parents, family members, friends, and teachers all have an impact on who we are and who we will become.
I am very proud to be a product of Catholic education. Many wonderful teachers were a part of my early faith formation. The biggest influence on my life, whether she knew it or not, was my second-grade teacher Sister Celeste.
Every year in our parochial school, we had a play in which all the classes were expected to participate. As the school year came to a close, Sister Celeste said to me, “Michael, you will play the role of a priest in the school play.” I thought, “What does that mean?”
I soon found out.
Outfitted in a little cassock and a biretta on my head, I walked onto the stage, put the biretta on the Prie-Dieu, and gave my blessing. No words, just a gesture. I then put the biretta back on my head and walked off.
Sister Celeste sowed a seed that, many years later while in college, began to take root in me and sprout. This little internal voice said, “Yes, you want to be a teacher, but you're not going to teach languages, and you're not going to teach math –– You're going to teach about Me.”
Please, never underestimate the power your words and actions, no matter how seemingly insignificant they may seem to you at the time, have on the future direction of another. They are seeds.
A seed that had been planted and nurtured many years before came to full bloom on June 25th when once again we were witness to God's tenderness toward the Diocese of Norwich. It was on that day that I had the privilege to confer the order of priesthood upon Jacob Michael Ramos.
Pope Saint John Paul II once voiced, “Every vocation to the priestly ministry is an extraordinary gift of God’s love.”
Vocations arise out of God's grace, which touches hearts and is experienced through those whom God has put on our path during life. We rejoice in the Lord that He has graced us with the wonderful gift of a new priest, who overtime has responded to God's call and the seed planted in him by family and friends.
I pray that we may always be vigilant to select our words carefully, remembering that they can be seeds of hope or seeds of despair.
May God who founded the church and guides her still, protect Reverend Jacob Ramos constantly with His grace, to faithfully discharge the duties of his priesthood. May He make Fr. Jacob a servant and a witness in the world, to divine charity and truth and a faithful minister of reconciliation. And may He make him a true shepherd to provide the living bread and word of life to the faithful that they may continue to grow in the unity of the Body of Christ.
We thank God for the gift of this vocation to the priesthood and ask Him to pour out His graces upon many more of His sons, that they too might embrace a priestly vocation and be led to His altar of sacrifice in service to the people of God as priest of the Diocese of Norwich.
May God’s grace shine upon you and your families as you go about your days sowing seeds of hope.
Sincerely yours in the love and joy of Christ,
Michael R. Cote
Bishop of Norwich