Looking Forward to a Beautiful Life of Ministry as new Priests of Providence: Bishop Richard G. Henning to ordain Rev. Mr. Jairon Olmos Rivera to the Sacred Priesthood on June 29


PROVIDENCE — It was a chance meeting in the land of his birth with a future bishop that put Jairon Gabriel Olmos Rivera on a path to the priesthood.
Before embarking on that path, he was serving as a capuchin friar with temporary vows in the Dominican Republic, where he was born. He had joined the order in 2008, at the age of 16, before finishing high school; he was in the last group allowed to enter the order without yet completing his secondary school formation. He would finish high and college with the order, going on to serve 11 years as a capuchin.
“In the religious life, we all have a house job, and my job was to be the driver for the house,” Deacon Olmos Rivera told Rhode Island Catholic in an interview Monday.
At the time, in 2017, then-Father James T. Ruggieri, who was serving as pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Providence, was leading mission trips to the Dominican Republic for students of his parish school.
“And that’s how I met Father James. I was his personal driver for a week in Santo Domingo, the capital.”
It was Father Ruggieri who last month was ordained as the Bishop of Portland, Maine, who told the young, bright, capuchin about the great need for more Hispanic priests to serve the faithful in the Diocese of Providence.

“In prayer and discernment, God guided me to the Diocese of Providence through his servant Father James Ruggieri,” he said.
In January 2020, with the enouragement of Father Ruggieri, Olmos Rivera moved to Providence, R.I., where he entered Our Lady of Providence Seminary to pursue his vocation to the priesthood, a calling that began in his childhood. From OLP, he went on to St. John Seminary in Boston.
“I loved the things that my pastor Father Gregorio Berroa did,” he said, remembering his active upbringing in the Catholic Church.
“It is precisely as an altar server that I got myself involved into the life of the Church and of the sacraments. I have a great devotion to the Eucharist and I remember that the first time I heard the biblical text of Jeremiah’s call (Jr 1, 5-9), I felt that God was calling me. This reading helped me understand God’s own call in my life and how I was being moved to respond to his voice in my heart.”
He advises any man discerning a vocation to take time in silence and prayer, and ask God directly and from his heart, “what do you want from me?”
And in that same spirit of prayer, he suggests the man wait and God will speak to them inside of their hearts what his will is.
“If he has not thought about discerning the priesthood yet, I would encourage him to consider this beautiful lifestyle to serve God and to not to be afraid to say yes to the Lord,” he said.
Deacon Olmos Rivera’s answer to the Lord will culminate in his ordination to the priesthood this Saturday.
He said he is very much looking forward to having his dear mother, Iris Alatgracia Olmos Rivera seated in the front pew directly behind him in the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.
His father Juan and other family members will be supporting him and watching the livestream of the Ordination Mass.
Growing up in Bayaguana, Dominican Republic, Deacon Olmos Rivera’s studied at the Catholic School St. Fransis of Assis, Santo Domingo Este.
He attended Pontificia Universida Catolica Madre y Maestra (college) in the Dominican Republic where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy (PUCMM) before moving to Providence to enter seminary.
He earned his STB, MA (Theology), and M.Div. from St. John’s Seminary, Boston. His Diaconal Ordination was May 13, 2023, in the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, Providence, by Most Rev. Richard G. Henning.
Following his ordination on June 29, Father Olmos Rivera will begin his new assignment on July 1 serving as Parochial Vicar at St. Charles and St. Michael Parishes, Providence.