As of spring 2022, Dr. Ronnie Rombs has taken on a new role as coordinator of campus ministry on the University of Dallas Due Santi campus, as the former chaplain, Monsignor Thomas Fucinaro, has been called back to the United States.
Rombs has been a theology professor for UD since the fall of 2008. He has spent the last three years teaching Western Theological Tradition at the Rome campus, and he has been the director of the summer Rome program since the summer of 2012.
Before coming to UD, Rombs taught theology at St. Benedict’s, an undergraduate seminary college near New Orleans, Louisiana, and then at a graduate school of theology in Washington, D.C.
He found out about UD after praying for the intercession of St. Therese in helping him find a job at a good university that was authentically Catholic.
The theology department at UD was looking for a professor specializing in patristics and 20th century issues, which are Rombs’ areas of expertise.
“I applied, and it was a really good fit, and I never looked back,” said Rombs.
In the spring of 2022, there was a need for someone to help with campus ministry at the Due Santi campus since Msgr. Fucinaro, who had served as the chaplain on the Due Santi campus for fifteen years, was called back to the United States to serve as a pastor in his home diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Since Rombs is a professor of theology and not a priest, his role in campus ministry looks a bit different than that of Msgr. Fucinaro.
“The title ‘coordinator [of campus ministry]’ is the title that I chose, and the reason why I chose that is because I am not a campus minister. I can’t hear confessions, and I can’t say Mass,” explained Rombs.
As coordinator, Rombs schedules the priests that come to campus to celebrate Mass, hear confessions and offer spiritual direction. He is also in charge of planning the men’s and women’s retreats and has continued the Dead Theologian’s Society.
DTS meets on Monday nights and provides an opportunity for students to ask a wide variety of religious questions and receive answers from trustworthy sources like bi-ritual priest Father Michael Shami, several seminarians from the Pontifical North American College and Rombs.
Michael Pecha, a sophomore biochemistry major who has attended DTS, said: “I really enjoyed Dead Theologians Society because it was an opportunity to discuss whatever random theological questions we had with a knowledgeable group. I’m greatly looking forward to the next meeting!”
Rombs feels that there is a great synergy between his two roles of theology professor and ministry coordinator. Through his work in campus ministry, he can play a more active role in the practical application of the theology he teaches, and because of his theological studies, he approaches his duties as coordinator with an extensive knowledge of Church teaching.
Although Rombs received his doctorate in historical theology years ago, he is still a student. When his wife, Dr. Kathryn Rombs, decided to pursue a degree in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas-Angelicum, he was inspired to go back to school, as well. He is currently working on a master’s degree in dogma.
When asked about the most rewarding aspect of his new position, Rombs responded, “Clearly, getting to work more closely with the students.” With his added responsibilities he finds himself on campus more often, leading to more opportunities to get to know students on a deeper level.