Father Ramon Carlin Larger Than Life
A priest of the People
By Jeanne Devlin
Even after his 13 years in Guatemala, Father Stanley Rother would have been the last one to predict that it would be his name-not his mentor Ramon Carlin’s-that people associate with Micatokla.
And that says something about both men.
Father Ramon Carlin believed in the priesthood of believers. As a young priest he fought hard for many of the liturgical changes that would be enacted by the Second Vatican Council. He never lost that fervor.
He insisted that work of the mission in Guatemala be carried by all beliver5s-clergy, religious and laity, and to his death, he lived what he preached. In his last will and testament, he had only two requests: he named a certain priest to deliver his funeral sermon and he wanted “full participation in the Mass!”
It surprised no one who knew him.
Carlin could make a person spitting mad as easily as he could warm his heart. But it ran both ways. He was forever tracking down Catholics, who had lost contact with the Church or fallen from favor, and as director of McGuinness High School, he ran an “open” rectory in which the doors were literally never locked and conversation continued almost around the clock for four years.
He had strong opinions but didn’t see himself as the only one with answers. If a student session turned to a tough liturgical question, he might grab the phone and call the world’s best authority on the subject (“sorry to wake you, Father Diekmann!”)
A priest friend once said, “he felt like a forgotten man in the Oklahoma diocese,” after returning from Guatemala, and the loneliness when it surfaced was made worse by the fact that he had left his heart there.
As printed in the Sooner Catholic Newspaper August 12, 2001