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Father Germán says priesthood will be enhanced with citizenship

The following story appeared in the October 7 Idaho Catholic Register.

Father Germán Ruis Rebollo, parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Caldwell, is now a citizen of the United States. (ICR photo/Vero Gutiérrez)

By Vero Gutierrez

Staff Writer

CALDWELL – After fulfilling the legal requirements and passing the general knowledge exam, Father Germán Ruis Rebollo, parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Caldwell, is now a citizen of the United States.

Father Germán views citizenship as a “true wealth for my ministry,” he said. “Learning the language and accessing the American culture provide an opportunity to better serve the priesthood. Also, it helps me to understand the people of the United States as well as those migrants who have come here to work. I feel close to them, and I can speak to them from my experience as a child of migrants.”

“I like the American culture for its multiple values” added Father Germán. “I admire its discipline, order and punctuality. And, I like having a reason to feel patriotic as there are so many people who gave their lives for this country. This is a country that values freedom and has welcomed migrants from other cultures. They are very human and support you.”

Father Germán’s plans have had great changes since he visited the United States for the first time. He had not yet discovered his vocation to the priest-hood, focusing instead on sports, money and material goods like so many young men struggling to find meaning in life.

Over time, he discerned a vocation to the priest-hood, deciding to enter the seminary following the example of his uncle, Father Armando Ruis and his older brother, Father Juan Ruis. That’s when his interests and priorities changed completely, centering instead on God and the building of His kingdom.

Father Germán is not the first in his family with links to the United States. His father, Juan Ruiz Martínez, who passed away 14 years ago, worked for 40 years in Chicago, becoming a citizen in 2008. So far, most of his family, including his siblings and his mother, have established residency here.

Father Germán started his process toward citizen-ship with the help of Catholic Charities of Idaho. He was able to conclude the process with the help of a friend, Zuni Martínez, who knows about the subject after having worked for many years for an immigration law firm.

Father Germán is grateful to Martínez and several others who helped him make the process easier, including the Archbishop of Morelia, Monsignor Carlos Garfias Merlos, who granted him permission to come here as part of an exchange agreement between the archdiocese and the Diocese of Boise.

Learning English has been an important part of the process. Susan Müllin, a parishioner at St. John Paul II Community in Idaho Falls, gave him English instruction during the time that Father Germán served as parochial vicar there. She would also review his homilies whenever he celebrated an English Mass.

Now, as parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Valley in Caldwell, Father Germán celebrates the 7:30 a.m. Spanish Mass as well as the Eucharistic celebrations in English on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

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