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On the porch with Fr. Rampino

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Father Joseph M. Rampino and Youth Apostle Father Thomas M. Yehl traded places this summer — Father Rampino left his role as parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament Church in Alexandria to become chaplain at Marymount University in Arlington. Father Yehl, former chaplain and director of campus ministry at Marymount, is now parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament.

While Father Rampino didn’t get advice on the role, he did have a role model.

“Everyone who knew (Father Yehl) here knew how committed he was to the students, making sure they had access to their Catholic faith whenever they needed it, and they had a safe place to be Catholic with him,” said Father Rampino. “I’m trying to continue that tenor that he so admirably left behind.”

Continuing that tenor, Father Rampino is making himself available to students. “I spend afternoons sitting on the back porch of the main house on campus and answering any questions the people have about their faith,” he said. “It gives them a casual setting to come and talk to a priest.”

Father Rampino said it is important to ensure there is time for people to come see him. “Even for adult Catholics, if you want to see the priest, you have to catch him after Mass or find him in his office,” he said. “A lot of what we try to do is end up in places that aren’t the office so people who wouldn’t normally find you can find you.”

Along with time on the back porch, Father Rampino can be found playing frisbee or basketball with students.

Father Rampino plans to celebrate the standard feast days, including a blessing of the animals for the feast of St. Francis of Assisi Oct. 4 at 1:30 p.m. on the Ireton Hall lawn at Marymount. But he also plans to celebrate more obscure feasts such as that of St. Martin in November with cooked goose, and a procession on All Souls Day to the cemetery on campus where the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary sisters from Marymount are buried.

Father Rampino expanded confession hours to have something almost every day. “It is an opportunity for people to come in no matter what their schedules are. They know they can always come in and have their sins forgiven,” he said.

“It is edifying to see how many students long to know their faith and to live it as authentically and deeply as possible,” said Father Rampino. “My job is just to help them live the Catholic faith as truly and deeply as I can.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019