St. Bernadette mourns abrupt loss of pastor – Arizona News

St. Bernadette mourns abrupt loss of pastor – Arizona News

Fr. Peter Rossa (1964-2017)

Several parish communities are mourning the sudden loss of Fr. Peter Rossa, affectionately known as Fr. Pete.

He was feeling ill during daily Mass at St. Bernadette in Scottsdale Sept. 12, collapsed and died the following day. He was 52.

Fr. Rossa’s vocation was a “late” one by some standards, being ordained at 38. Priesthood actually came fairly quickly, however, considering he went through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults only a few years prior to seminary.

Fr. Rossa was born Oct. 23, 1964 and was baptized Catholic, but later grew up with a non-practicing parent. Life’s journey took him through several years in the Air Force and ultimately back to the Church where he dedicated his life. His priesthood stretched a short 14 years on earth, but left fond memories among the faithful at all of his pastoral appointments, especially at St. Bernadette where he spent the last decade as pastor.

St. Bernadette’s new church

First Mass in new church

Mass of dedication

He poured his heart into strengthening parish life, most especially by building St. Bernadette’s first real church. It was a long-envisioned dream fulfilled exactly 13 months prior to his death. He lovingly chronicled the building and interior decoration on his personal Facebook page. Priesthood and photography had long gone hand in hand.

Fr. Rossa spearheaded the two-man production crew for the annual Seminary Appreciation Dinner video at Mount Angel in Oregon. His partner: a fellow Phoenix seminarian.

“He had a very gentle manner as well as a good eye for a video story and a good photograph as well as a great knowledge of contemporary…

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