The priest Antonio José Villegas Romero, will occupy each of the nine days of the solemn Novenario to Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados del Buen Retiro del Saliente Coronada, the sacred chair in the Parish Churches of La Concepción and Santa María de Albox.
From the 30th of August to the 2nd of September it will be celebrated in the Parish Church of La Concepción and from the 3rd to the 7th of September in the Parish Church of Santa María. It will begin at 19:30h. with the recitation of the Holy Rosary together with the Novena and at 20:00h. the Holy Mass with the solemn Salve.
Antonio José Villegas Romero, the new parish priest of the church of Santa María, was born in the Venezuelan town of Tinaquillo in 1962 and, after experiencing a priestly vocation, he entered the Seminary of Our Lady of Succour in Valencia. He then went to Spain and studied theology at the Seminary of San Idelfonso in the city of Toledo. He graduated in Spiritual Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.
Ordained priest on 15 July 1990 in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the city of San Carlos, capital of the Venezuelan state of Cojeres. He has been parish priest of San Miguel Arcángel del Baúl, San Pablo Apóstol de Manrique and Nuestra Señora del Rosario de los Ancanes. He has also been rector of the populous Diocesan Sanctuary of the Divina Pastora del Jobal, in Lagunitas, where an image brought by the Spaniards in the 18th century is venerated with fervour. Antonio José has also exercised pastoral ministry in Peru, as parish priest of La Resurrección de Barrancas, and for some time now in our country as parish priest of San Ramón Nonato de Zurgena.
The Bishop of Almería, Don Antonio Gómez Cantero, appointed him parish priest of Santa María de Albox on 19 June this year and he took canonical possession on 21 August.
A priest with an intense Marian devotion, Don Antonio José affirms that “devotion to the Virgin is fundamental for me, I have always prayed the Holy Rosary every day”.
Since he arrived in our land, every year he has organised pilgrimages to the Diocesan Shrine of El Saliente and has been punctually present every 8th September to celebrate the Pequeñica.