Father Reynato (Rene) Rodillas, pastor of St. James the Just Parish, dies unexpectedly

Friday, Jan. 15, 2021

On Jan. 9, Msgr. Colin F. Bircumshaw, vicar general, made the announcement of Fr. Reynato (Rene) Rodillas’ death on behalf of Bishop Solis and the priests of the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

Fr. Rodillas tested positive with the COVID-19 virus on Jan. 5 and was sent home from the emergency room with oxygen to quarantine and to recover at home, Msgr. Bircumshaw said in his announcement, adding that the date of death has yet to be determined by the medical examiner, but that it was probably on Jan. 8.

Fr. Rodillas was 58 years old, and would have turned 59 this month.

Fr. Rodillas was born on Jan. 25, 1962, at Santo Domingo, Illocos Sur, Philippines, to the late Vicente Rodillas and Capistrana Tenorio. He attended grade school and high school in Vigan City, Ilolos Sur, and college at the University of Northern Philippines (1980-1986), also in Vigan City, Ilolos Sur, Philippines, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering (BSCE).

In 1990, he entered the Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City, Philippines, where he studied for the priesthood. He was ordained as a Divine Word Missionary by the Most Rev. Miguel Cinchez, SVD, on Dec. 12, 1997 at Tagaytay City, Philippines, for the Society of the Divine Word.

After various assignments in the Philippines, Father Rene came to the Diocese of Salt Lake City and was given faculties for ministry on Aug. 7, 2007. He served as a parochial vicar at Saints Peter and Paul Parish, West Valley City from 2007 to 2009; Saint George Parish, St. George from 2009 to 2010, and then a year at Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish in Midvale. In 2011, he became administrator of Saint Olaf Parish, Bountiful, where he served until he was formally exclaustrated from the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD). He became pastor when he was incardinated into the Diocese of Salt Lake City on Feb. 2, 2018.

On Aug. 1, 2019, he was appointed pastor of Saint James the Just Parish, Ogden, where he served until his untimely death.

In addition to his work as pastor, he most recently served as the spiritual advisor for the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women.

Fr. Rodillas is survived by his mother, Capistrana Rodillas; and siblings Condrado Rodillas, Rosemary Rubia and Imelda Rodillas (San Vicente, Ilocos Sur, Philippines).  

Funeral arrangements follow. To comply with pandemic social distancing requirements, seating is extremely limited. However, the services will be livestreamed on the Cathedral of the Madeleine YouTube channel, cotmtv.

The funeral vigil for Fr. Rodillas will be Wednesday, Jan. 20, 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, 309 E. South Temple. The Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday, Jan. 21, 11 a.m., also at the cathedral.

A memorial fund for Fr. Rodillas has been set up on the St. Olaf Parish website, https://www.stolafut.org/.

Kindly remember Fr. Rodillas and his family, friends and parishioners in your prayers.

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