Father Jimmy Barrozo
FOWLER -- On Thursday, Oct. 28, the Diocese of Dodge City woke to the sad news that Father Jimmy Barrozo, parochial administrator at parishes in Fowler, Meade, and Plains, had died in his sleep. He was 44-years old.
“Father Jimmy was so lonely to see the face of his mother and his siblings,” said Father Angel Dy at the Nov. 3 funeral Mass at St. Anthony Parish, Fowler. “Today, Father Jimmy should be midway on his flight to the Philippines. It could not be. Instead, his flight is moving farther upwards.”
Father Barrozo had served the diocese for nearly a year after arriving here Nov. 15, 2009. He had previously served in his native country of the Philippines in the Diocese of Sorsogon, the same diocese as that of Father Dy.
In an interview with the Register a few weeks after his arrival, Father Barrozo said, “Father Angel introduced me already to some of the people of the three parishes. I think they’re very fine. I was there in the meeting of the pastoral council in Fowler. I observed the proceedings, how the meeting was attended. I’m getting the impression that these are people who can share their time and their talents for the Church. These are lay people, volunteers, but willing to work for the church. I think I will love it here, working with those kind of people -- dedicated people.”
At the funeral, Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore told those gathered that he “found it strange that Father Jimmy came so quietly. I found it strange that Father Jimmy left so quietly. But I did not find it strange that Father Jimmy died alone. In my 40-odd years as priest, I have seen that happen to so many priests. Having spent themselves for others, they themselves died alone.
“...We kneel in prayer for Father Jimmy, even as we thank him for preaching to the end, for preaching the unexpected drama of life, for preaching the unsought drama of death, for preaching the unfathomable drama of Redemption. May he rest, Father Jimmy, in that sense of freedom, as if I were at length myself / And ne’er had been before. May he rest in peace.”
While in Kansas, Father Barrozo joined the Knights of Columbus and served as chaplain for Councils 2451 of Fowler and 2971 of Plains. He will be remembered daily at a special Mass for repose of the souls of deceased knights at St. Mary Church in Newhaven, Connecticut, the birthplace of the Knights.
Father Dy told those gathered that as a representative of the Diocese of Sorsogon, “I would like to give my sincerest thanks in the name of the Diocese of Sorsogon to the Diocese of Dodge City, Bishop Ron Gilmore, brother priests, deacons, and the whole faithful in the diocese who have expressed they deepest regret and sorrow in the passing on of Father Jimmy.”
He said that Father Barrozo’s bishop in the Philippines, the Most Rev. Arturo M. Bastes, expressed thanks “to all of us for taking care of Father Jimmy.”
Father Dy also offered thanks in the name of Father Barrozo’s family, to “everybody for receiving Father Jimmy. He was a gentle presence among us, kindly and hospitable. He would distress if we did not partake of the presence of one another after Mass.
Following the Mass, the congregation went to the St. John the Baptist Parish Center in Meade for a luncheon reception.
Father Barrozo was the youngest of six children. He learned from his parents “the value of frugality, hard work, self sacrifice, and intimacy, because we had to stick together,” he said in 2009.
“After work my father would tend to a little garden in the back yard. He planted all kinds of vegetables. At my young age, I would be there helping my father…. I would love to spend time with my pop, so I would find myself helping him tending the gardens even after school, because my dad is also there in the garden. So, I imbibed from him the quality of hard work, industry.
“Although we are poor, I am proud to say that my parents were able for us to complete our education. I think [my siblings were] able to have a good life after education. We landed in good schools, got good jobs.”
Father Barrozo felt the calling to enter the priesthood at a very young age, thanks in part to his walking his mother to Mass in the darkened early morning hours. “My mama was also a very regular Mass-goer,” he said. “So, early in the morning she would wake up at 5 to attend 5:30 Mass in the nearby church. Because sometimes it’s still dark outside, she would ask me to accompany her to Mass. I would get going with my mom to the Mass and it all started there.”