was born June 21, 1947. He was delivered at the Deaconess Hospital which once resided on Jefferson Street in Detroit, Michigan. He was the youngest of four children; the next in line being seven years older.
“I always said I wouldn’t be here except for the war,” said Msgr. Bass. It was the post war baby boom that lead to his existence. “My mother was 42 and my dad was 44 years-old. Back then, people didn’t just have babies at that age.”
If the circumstances of his mother’s pregnancy weren’t unique enough, Monsignor Bass made sure to ‘wow’ them with his entrance into the world.
“I was actually born the day of my cousin’s wedding,” joked Msgr. Bass. “She used to say it was my fault my mother was unable to be there.”
His father worked on the Detroit Police Force while his mother stayed at home to take care of their family. He lived in a great neighborhood with lots of kids.
“We had alleys back then. We’d play baseball back there or red rover in the lawn. There were so many kids there were a million things to do.”
He attended Denby High School, graduating in January 1965. Because of the baby boom, the graduating classes were divided. Denby was also made into a three year high school. Ninth graders attended a transition school.
After graduation, Monsignor Bass went to the University of Detroit. However, he didn’t immediately choose a career path.
“I started as a math major. I loved mathematics. I just didn’t know what I planned to do with it,” said Msgr. Bass.
It was an economics class at 8:00 am that led him to the priesthood.
“It was the most boring class I’d had to take. So I started day dreaming.”
He thought about what he would like to do. Having just recently been baptized, he decided to become a priest.
“It wasn’t much of a call,” said Msgr. Bass. “Not like you’d expect.”
Because he was a convert, he had to have the permission of a bishop to enter the priesthood. Cardinal Deardon was the Archbishop at that time and helped young Ricardo begin his journey. After completing a background in Latin, Monsignor Bass entered his second year of college at Sacred Heart Seminary. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in English before attending St. John’s for his post graduate studies. He also received a Master’s Degree from the University of Detroit in Religious Studies.
He was ordained June 15, 1974 at Holy Name Church in Birmingham where he had served as a Deacon under Father Harrington.
“Every assignment I received I actually disliked the idea of until I got there. Then I loved it. I learned so much and had so many great experiences.”
He was a pastor four times, and each time was meaningful to him.
“People are people. We all hurt. We all know what anger is, or sorrow is, or happiness is. You share that together and that’s what you get to bring to your parishioners,” said Msgr. Bass.
He also served in many other positions. He was sent to become a lawyer for the church in 1981. As a result, he became a judge for the Archdiocese of Detroit and eventually the Chief Judge. He was also a member of the Canon Law Society of which he was later elected president. He traveled to many countries, giving speeches. His position also placed him as part of the Tribunal that presided over church annulments.
“All of those were wonderful experiences. I just like what I do,” said Msgr. Bass.
He now lives at Fox Manor where he still serves, celebrating Mass with other residents. He holds discussion groups, communion services and anoints the sick at Lourdes Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center and Mendelson Assisted Living.
“I like to consider myself as part of the pastoral team here. There are so many wonderful parts of Lourdes, especially the spirituality. It is so evident here and very much a part of the care. Lourdes doesn’t just provide care for physical needs. They care for the whole person.”
Another thing he admires about Lourdes are the other residents.
“We have so many amazing and vibrant people living here who still put up for service: fixing things for people; taking care of people; watching over people. They are wonderful.”
Monsignor Bass believes anyone can have a call for service, no matter their position, education or age.
“I used to avoid vocation talks because I didn’t think I had the typical call to service. But after reading the scripture, I realized my call is typical. God called the people that no one expected and no one expected me to become a priest,” Msgr. Bass.
He loves living in a place where people live out their own unique calls from God every day.