Diocese of Dodge City welcomes Father Jimmy Barrozo
Nearly 20 years ago, a young man on the road to the priesthood found himself serving as transitional deacon to a kind priest by the name of Father Angel Dy.
Three weeks ago, the two met again when Msgr. Dy, who most recently served as pastor at parishes in Fowler, Meade and Plains, greeted his former deacon as he stepped off a plane in Wichita from his native Philippines.
For Msgr. Dy, the meeting signified the beginning of the end of 11 years serving in the Diocese of Dodge City. For Father Jimmy Barrozo, who had never before visited the Unites States, it was the beginning of a new adventure, and a chilly one at that. Winter storm advisories left the two priests, as well as vicar general, Father Robert Schremmer, staying in a hotel that first night.
But soon, Father Barrozo, a stranger in a strange land, found himself being introduced to those who would become his spiritual family.
“Father Angel introduced me already to some of the people of the three parishes,” Father Barrozo said. “I think they’re very fine. I was at 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.”
Father Barozzo is the youngest of six children. His family was very poor, he said, but because of the hard work of his parents, he and all his siblings were able to go to school.
“I learned from my parents the value of frugality, hard work, self sacrifice, and intimacy, because we had to stick together,” Father Barozzo said. “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 tend the gardens even after school, because my dad was also there in the garden. So, I imbibed from him the quality of hard work and industry.
“Although we were poor, I am proud to say that my parents [made it] 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 Barozzo said he heard the calling to enter the priesthood at a very young age, thanks in part to walking his mother to Mass in the dark early morning hours.
“I would attribute my vocation to the priesthood to my mama,” he said with a smile. “It was a very religious family. At six in the evening, wherever we were, we had to go back to our home because we have to say the Angelus. Then before going to bed, Mama would herd all the children for the rosary.
“My mama was also a very regular Mass-goer. 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 started there. I got acquainted with how the altar server helped the priest during Mass.”
On one occasion, he said, the scheduled altar server was not at Mass, so his mother “prodded” him to help the priest.
“That started me as an altar server,” he said. “Then there was this priest who used to be a regular celebrant of the Masses whom I was fond of. So, when I was in sixth grade, he came to our school to ask students if they would be interested in taking an entrance examination to a minor seminary. Because I knew this priest, I indicated my intention. That started my seminary formation.”
In his fourth year in high school, a Jesuit priest came to this seminary recruiting boys to enroll in the college seminary. The priest was an American and white skinned, neither of which the young Jimmy Barozzo had ever seen before.
“I attempted to take the examination and I passed and entered the seminary in Manila.”
On Dec. 4, Father Barozzo celebrated his 16th anniversary of priestly ordination. It was a bittersweet day for the people of the Diocese of Dodge City, for it was also the day that we said goodbye and farewell to Father Angel Dy as he departed for the Philippines.