Priesthood Sunday Spotlight: Rev. Robert Ross, SJ

Posted on: October 25, 2018 10:00 am
Tags: Spotlight,

Rev. Robert Ross, SJ, is the current chaplain at the Covington Province of the Sisters of Notre Dame.

Sunday, October 28, 2018 is Priesthood Sunday. In honor of this day that affirms the role of the priesthood in the life of the Church, we reflected on the role of our chaplain, Fr. Robert Ross, and the life he brings to our province. Get to know Fr. Ross.

Fr. Robert (Bob) Ross, SJ is the current chaplain at the Covington Province of the Sisters of Notre Dame, also known as St. Joseph Heights. A native of Cincinnati, OH, his home parish is St. Anthony, Madisonville, OH.

Fr. Ross entered the Society of Jesus in 1959 after completing Xavier High School the same year. He did his studies at Boston College (1967) and Loyola University (1972). He was ordained to the priesthood in 1972. After his ordination he was missioned to work in hospital pastoral care at St. Vincent Indianapolis (1973-79). He then moved to St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Northern Kentucky as director of pastoral care (1980-2006). He has also worked at the St. Mary's Mission on the Navajo Reservation in Tohatchi, NM. Fr. Ross joined St. Xavier Parish in Cincinnati, OH in 2013 as assisting priest.

Q&A with Fr. Ross

What is unique about your connection to the Sisters of Notre Dame?

I have enjoyed my experience at the Heights. This has been my first personal contact with the Sisters of Notre Dame although my mother and other family members were taught by them. In fact, my mom was apparently being recruited to join the community but on the day she was invited with others her age to a picnic at the Heights they served hot dogs and mom hated hot dogs. I am eternally grateful!


What is one of your favorite aspects of the priesthood?

Celebrating the liturgy is my favorite aspect of being part of the priesthood of God's people.


What did your family say when you decided to enter the Jesuits?

When I decided to join the Jesuits my folks were very open to my making my own decision. Being an only child meant no grandchildren but they never gave me an indication that they were disappointed.


Are there any myths about being ordained that you would like to dispel?

When I was ordained I remained the same imperfect individual I was before ordination. The reality that God entrusts  the continuing message and mission of Jesus to ordinary people reminds me daily that God's love truly is unconditional.


What message would you like to share to anyone considering religious life?

The Church is continuing to evolve as we move ahead in the 21st century as it has every century before this one. There will be ups and downs in that evolution because sometimes the Good News is too good to be true for some folks and there is a reluctance to grow in the Spirit. That reluctance may mean missing the process the Spirit historically seems to "inspire". Then we may get wrapped up in ourselves too much and miss the real meaning of life.

My guess is that the Church will look differently in the future but with openness to the Spirit it will be an exciting community to be a part of as the process plays out. If a person senses an invitation to be part of this dynamism then listen with your heart to discover your vocation as a married person, single person, sister, brother or priest. In other words, be a committed member of the People of God! We all have a vocation.


Do you have any suggestions for integrating prayer into daily life?

Prayer, to be a meaningful part of my life, requires for me "more being and less doing". In other words, we are to become contemplatives in action which means we listen and observe life in a way so that we are more aware of God's presence in every moment, in every thought, in every action. It is not a matter of doing more prayers but of learning that life itself is a prayer. Then we are aware of the divine within us and about us. We are immersed in God's creation and the most self-conscious of God's creatures. There is a reason for that and a prayerful attitude toward life will make it evident to everyone who is able to savor the quiet moments. God does not work on our time management routines. Insights come when one lets them be experienced. I believe a "prayerful" outlook enables one's experience of the divine. 

Mary Beth Fennell
Date: on November 12, 2018

The Sisters of Notre Dame are very lucky to have you as are the people at St. Xavier Church.

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