Life experience, religious training and early ministry assignments came together for Father Roberto “Tito” Serrano, OFM, when the Franciscan friar — who has been stationed at Siena College since last summer — was ordained to the priesthood in December at the church he attended as a high-school student in Phoenix, Ariz.

The Mass on Dec. 5 was celebrated by Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix at St. Mary’s Basilica, the church associated with St. Mary’s High School, where Father Serrano graduated. The 33-year-old friar, who is a member of the New York-based Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province, has served at HNP’s ministry sites in the Midwest, South and Northeast.

The Mass was concelebrated with the bishop by several other priests, including Father Mark Reamer, OFM, vice president for Mission at Siena College as well as the Guardian of the Friary, and Father Julian Davies, OFM.

A recent graduate of Catholic Theological Union in Chicago with a master of divinity degree, Father Serrano is stationed at Siena College, where his primary role is with the chaplain’s office and sacramental ministries. He assists with student-athlete academic and spiritual advisement, campus ministry, interfaith outreach, and programming and mentoring at Siena’s Damietta Cross-Cultural Center.

Before joining the Franciscan formation program, Father Serrano — whose parents both grew up in Puerto Rico — worked in fitness and other private sector jobs. He joined the Franciscans in 2011, made his first profession in 2013 and professed his solemn vows in August 2019.

“His easy-going nature coupled with his habit of getting around campus on his skateboard draws students into conversation with him,” said Father Reamer, who represented Provincial Minister Father Kevin Mullen, OFM, at the ordination Mass. “His enthusiasm for our Franciscan life has him taking the lead in redeveloping a vocation program on campus.”

In looking forward to his ministry at the Siena campus, Father Serrano said, “I want to grow in my religious priesthood. There are many things I would like to do in the future — perhaps go to a foreign mission. Who knows what the future holds?”