Catholic church welcomes pastor from the Philippines |

Catholic church welcomes pastor from the Philippines

Dan Thrift

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily TribuneThe Rev. Jeronimo Marcelo is the new pastor at St. Theresa Catholic Church.

Meeting “Father Ron” for the first time, one can see how well he will fit into the community; just a week on the job and he already looks the part of a Tahoe resident. With Levi’s, an unbuttoned collar and sandals, the Rev. Jeronimo Marcelo is a new South Shore resident and the new pastor at St. Theresa Catholic Church.

With just less than two years in the United States, Marcelo transferred from the Holy Family Church in Citrus Heights, where there was a large Hispanic congregation. “I think that’s part of the reason I was moved here. Tahoe has a large Hispanic and Philippine population. I’m looking forward to meeting the entire congregation and help them to continue to enrich their lives with the word of god,” Marcelo said.

Born in the Philippines, Marcelo spent part of his youth in Spain and Italy, where he studied theology before his first ministering position in Perugia, Italy, where he spent eight years.

Speaking Spanish and a Philippine dialect called “Ilocano,” Father Ron’s English flows smoothly with a beautiful accent: “There’s a challenge to connect with everyone. There’s a strong congregation here, and I want to continue that work, but I also understand there’s a large part of our church who are visitors. While they’re here recreating, they can also take advantage of spiritual recreation.”

The Rev. Michael O’Reilly, who was pastor at the church for two years, and his sidekick, Moxie, took a position at St. Rose Catholic Church in Roseville, which also is close to his parents in Lincoln.

Marcelo’s true test fitting in will come when the snow falls in a few months: “I used to love the snow because I could always leave; now I’m not sure,” he said with a laugh. “I’m looking forward to a snow-covered holiday season and skiing. I love to ski.”