Msgr. Ronald James Swett entered peacefully into eternal life on August 3, 2020 after a brief struggle with cancer.
Msgr. Ron was born on October 30, 1941 in Fresno. His family moved to Taft in 1947 where he attended St. Mary’s School. In September 1955, he entered Ryan Preparatory College—the high school seminary for the Diocese of Monterey-Fresno. He was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood on April 29, 1967 at St. John’s Cathedral, Fresno.
Over the next 53 years, Msgr. Ron served in various parishes of the diocese: St. John’s Cathedral (Fresno); St. Brigid (Hanford); St. Mary (Visalia); St. Joseph (Firebaugh); Merced Catholic Churches (Merced); St. Malachy (Tehachapi); St. Anne (Porterville); and St. Philip the Apostle (Bakersfield). He retired as pastor of St. Philip the Apostle in 2013 after 26 years of service there. Even though he was retired from his administrative duties, he continued to provide pastoral assistance to various parishes when needed. He was also appointed Administrator of St. Francis of Assisi Church, Bakersfield.
Msgr. Ron was completely devoted to the priesthood and was selfless in the time and energy he gave to the people he was called to serve. He always understood that his ministry was a gift from the eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ. He fulfilled his ministry with a generous heart and a sincere love of God. He was also an avid traveler—having visited several countries on every continent. His presence will be missed among the Catholic faithful and larger community.
Msgr. Ron was preceded in death by his parents, Darrell and Nadine; and his brother, Richard. He is survived by another brother, Alver, of Virginia, and nieces and nephews.
Thank you to all who shared prayers and love with Msgr. Ron during his time of illness. Special thanks to Mike and Karen Cerri for the loving assistance offered to him over the past few weeks and to the wonderful care given to him by Hoffman Hospice.
Due to the present restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, funeral services will be restricted. Visitation is open to all and will be held on Thursday, August 13 from 3-6 pm at St. Philip the Apostle Church. Please bring a mask and observe social distancing. A private Vigil will be held at 6:30 (invitation only).
Funeral Mass will be Friday, August 14, at 9 am, and is limited to clergy, relatives and invited guests. Msgr. Ron will be laid to rest at West Side District Cemetery in Taft next to his parents.
Links to the live-streamed services will posted on the website of St. Philip the Apostle Church.
In lieu of flowers, Msgr. Ron would be best honored by a gift made in his memory to St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church or the Priests Retirement Fund of the Diocese of Fresno.