When approached about expanding his service in the Diocese of Baton Rouge, the Rev. Tom Ranzino was more than willing.
Faithful serving with compassion has been among Ranzino’s gifts during his 35 years in the diocese. And it’s been Ranzino’s way of giving back to a faithful God.
“I really trust in God’s faithfulness to me and for all of us,” said Ranzino, the pastor of St. Jean Vianney Catholic Church in Baton Rouge since 2005. “I sensed that my response to choosing this way of life has always been the impetus or the imitation of God’s spirit to be generous and show compassion in whatever I’m doing. I’ve always attempted to do that whether it’s administrative work or other kinds of ministries.”
Ranzino, 64, got administrative work added to this duties when he was appointed by Bishop Robert Muench to be the diocese’s new vicar general.
“After consultation with those that I trusted and a good deal of prayer, I was able to freely say yes, and I’m very content to serve the way I’m being asked to serve right now,” he said.
Ranzino surrendered his position as diocese chancellor, where he was in charge of clarifying and changing liturgy in the Office of Worship.
Part of the Ranzino’s new responsibilities as vicar general includes dealing with diocesan administration and consultation with Muench; overseeing and collaborating with department heads in the Catholic Life Center; and consulting with priests.
“It’s another opportunity for me to serve and I love the diocese. I was open to serving the pastors and the parish in this way,” he said.
Ranzino credits others for assisting him with his split roles.
“I’m grateful to my parish staff for helping me in the pastoral life of the parish,” he said. “I have discovered that I am more than careful with my time and prepared whenever I was entering a new area … my responsibilities are in two directions — to the parish and also to the diocese.”
A Baton Rouge native, Ranzino studied for the priesthood in Indiana — first at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology and later at Notre Dame, where he earned a master’s degree in liturgy of worship in 1980. Ranzino served at St. Joseph in Pierre Part, Holy Rosary in St. Amant and St. George before coming to St. Jean Vianney.
“I love the parish life, to be able to serve people and collaborate with people,” he said. “So I really do feel content, and I believe responding to the Lord’s will in my life. And I’ve grown to see that as the years have gone by.”
As vicar general, Ranzino replaces the Rev. Than Ngoc Vu, who died in January after a long battle with cancer.
“Than was a well-loved man and served the diocese well. I certainly am aware that I’m a different person and I will serve in my gifts,” he said. “I’m not in a spirit of trying to replace Than. I am trying to be me as I serve, and hopefully in the same kinds of ways he did.”
The highly successful Bible Tour 2015 culminates in Baton Rouge with a 7 p.m. April 26 stop at the River Center.
The tour is based on the hit NBC miniseries “A.D. The Bible Continues” and features some of today’s top Christian music stars, including Grammy and Dove award winner Steven Curtis Chapman.
The 16-show tour kicked off with stops that included Pittsburgh, Chicago, Philadelphia and Indianapolis.
Organizers say the concert event brings the Bible to life through live performances of the biggest hits and “breathtaking” visuals from “The Bible” miniseries. Among the other performers are Francesca Battistelli, three-time Dove Male Vocalist of the Year Brandon Heath and “American Idol” finalist Danny Gokey.
The Bible Tour 2015 is a partnership between 25 Entertainment, K-LOVE, Lightworkers Media and ministry partner ChildFund International.
Faith Matters runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Terry Robinson can be reached at (225) 388-0238 or by email to trobinson @theadvocate.com.