Fr. Salvador Gonzalez, OMI
Director of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows
I was born in Guadalajara Mexico and raised in Oakland California. My seminary formation took me across borders from Tijuana Mexico to San Antonio Texas to Rome Italy. Ministry to people in prison and ministry to those struggling with addictions are very life giving to me as well as ministering to Spanish speaking communities. MY ministry has included parish work, shrine ministry, preaching workshops and retreat ministry. Fr. Salvador Gonzalez, OMI is the current director of the national Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows and has been ministering in the Diocese of Belleville for nine years.
Fr. Raul Salas, OMI
Director of Hispanic Ministry
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows
Raul Salas, OMI, born in Brownsville, TX. I am 69 years old and ordained 42 yrs. I am the oldest of 5 children. My ministry has been primarily formation, high school minor seminary for 16 yrs, 11 years Shrine ministry at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, 12 years in formation of our Scholastic seminarians (those seminarians in the final years of theology and preparation for final vows or ordination), and 3 years as a parochial vicar in a small parish in Texas. I am presently director of Hispanic Ministry at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows plus availability for other ministerial duties. While it is a scary part of ministry for me, it is the task of preaching. I feel it is a great responsibility to announce the Good News of God’s saving action and to witness the hope and joy it brings to people.
Fr. Mark Dean, OMI
Mark Dean, OMI, a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate, is currently on staff at King’s House Retreat and Renewal Center in Belleville, IL, and will soon be moving to the National Shrine of our Lady of the Snows to continue work in retreat ministry. Previously he has (among a variety of assignments) served as a formator to Oblate seminarians, pastor to Sweden’s northern-most parish, and chaplain to both university students and men incarcerated. Being the third born of five sons, Mark enjoys the privileges of being a middle child, and standing in the middle, along with Virtue.
Fr. Elvis Mwamba, OMI
Fr. Elvis Ngosa Mwamba, I am an Oblate originally from Africa – delegation of Zambia. I was ordained in 2018, July the 7th. My first assignment was ministry at Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville a ministry I never thought I will do. I have found so much joy in the ministry I do as a Pilgrims Director. One thing that stands out in my ministry is journeying with people of different faith and listening to their stories, with a compassionate and listening heart and finding answers in their situation and courageously help them to go out and be carries of the good news to all.
Fr. James Fee, OMI
Coordinator of Spiritual Programs
Fr. Jim, originally from Buffalo, NY, attended an Oblate-staffed high school there, where he was impressed by the community spirit of the Oblates. Feeling called to join them he was ordained a priest in 1971. A large portion of his work has been in formation ministry, accompanying other young men in their discerning and preparing to become Oblate missionaries: 11 years as part of the major seminary staff in Washington, DC and another 3 years at the Pre-novitiate level in Tijuana, BC, Mexico.
Most of his years as an Oblate missionary have involved him in parish ministry, serving together both Anglo and Hispanic parishioners in locations such as Lowell, MA, Los Angeles, CA, Eagle Pass, TX among others. He values the call to recognize and collaborate with the charisms and gifts of the laity in today’s church and pursue the struggles for justice in our society. Prioritizing God’s poor with their many faces is both a challenging and fulfilling dimension in Fr. Jim’s Oblate ministry.