PAYSON — San Andres Catholic Church in Payson, Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Eureka, and San Isidro Mission in Elberta have a new pastor, Father José Rausseo.
This is the first assignment as pastor for Fr. Rausseo, who was ordained in 2007 and since then has been parochial vicar of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Orem.
"For me it is a challenge, especially when it’s about leading God’s people because we have to guide them to the house of the Father," said Fr. Rausseo who is really excited and has a lot of plans for this new challenge in his priesthood life.
San Andres Church doesn’t have a big Hispanic congregation, despite the demographics of the area, and that is why Fr. Rausseo, together with the parish council, have big plans for them, including their first Spanish-language Mass on Sept. 29.
"We are going to start working with them," Fr. Rausseo said. "I was planning to start with the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe (on Dec. 12), but we need to really organize first."
For him, integrating all the parish communities so they participate and celebrate as one is also very important.
"We have to have unity, uniformity, be one community. I do not want people to make a distinction. We are one community and we need the effort of everyone," Fr. Rausseo said.
Being a Catholic community implies that "we are one family. We need to follow the example of the Holy Trinity. To be one in Christ – that is our best example.... When there is no unity in a family there is chaos, but when a family is united they work together and accomplish different challenges," said Fr. Rausseo.
To help promote unity, he plans to have bilingual celebrations on the various solemnities during the Church year.
Also, as he understands it, Saint Andrew has never been celebrated as the parish’s patron, "so we are going to start doing that. We are going to celebrate St. Andrew with a small celebration; this will be an opportunity for everyone to participate," said Fr. Rausseo.
His message for the mission and for the parishioners in Eureka is that "they all are part of St. Andrew Parish and they will be considered for all the decisions in the parish council," although he wants at least one or two people from St. Isidro present at the council meetings, he said.
Fr. Rausseo has a background in business administration in his native Venezuela.
Being a priest never crossed his mind until later in life, he said. "As a matter of fact, the only encounter that I had with a seminary was a time that the football team that I played on had a match against the seminarians, and we won," said Fr. Rausseo with a big smile.
When he arrived in Utah he was greatly surprised to see that Utah had a Catholic church, he said.
"One time, walking through downtown, I passed in front of a store and I saw the priest clothes displayed in the window and my heart started pounding," said Fr. Rausseo.
From the store workers, Father Rausseo got the address of the Sacred Heart Parish in downtown Salt Lake City, where he met Deacon German Toro. Soon "I realized I had eight of the seven days of the week busy with parish activities," he said. He was invited to consider the priesthood by Father Hernando Diaz, who was the Sacred Heart pastor at the time.
"I think that’s how God made sure that I knew my call. I just let him guide me. Without him I am nothing," said Fr. Rausseo.
"We are very happy to see him with new challenges and helping other communities," said Fernando Balcazar, parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi. "We for sure are going to miss him here but we know he is needed there."