FATHER SEVY LOPEZ, C.M.F. (1918-2012)
Rev. Severino Rev. Severino 'Sevy' Lopez, C.M.F. died on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Father Lopez was born on September 9, 1918, in Lone Pine, CA. the son of the late Severino and Isabel (nee Parra) Lopez. Surviving brothers are Peter (Isabel) Lopez and Benjamin (Ofelia) Lopez and
one sister, Carmen (William) Aquino; along with many nieces and nephews; the late brothers are Robert
and Joseph Lopez and a late sister Charlotte Castro. In 1926 he moved with his family to South Chicago, where he became a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, he made his first Communion there and served as an altar boy in his early years. He entered the Claretian seminary in California as a high school
student; made his religious profession as a Claretian Missionary on July 16, 1937. He was ordained a priest on May 28, 1944. After ordination, his ministry work began and took him to Trenton, NJ, San Gabriel and Los Angeles, CA and San Antonio, TX, before returning to his home parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe as Pastor from 1952-1957 and again from 1964-1972. In between these assignments he did mission preaching in México, which
he loved. Father Lopez served on the Claretian's Provincial Council of the Eastern Province from 1968-1972 and then asTreasurer from 1971-1974. He returned to parish ministry in 1977 at St. Mary of the Sorrows Parish in Fairfax, VA also serving as
Campus Minister at George Mason University. In 1984, he did missionary work in Isabel, Guatemala. In 1985 Father Lopez returned to Chicago as Pastor of St. Paul's Parish in Chicago, IL before going to Stone Mountain, GA, where he was Associate Pastor of Corpus Christi Parish for 16 years. In his very active retirement years he enjoyed traveling, preaching missions and helping out in parishes. In his long and varied career as a Claretian priest, Fr. Lopez always followed a steadfast principle: "In my personal life, I have great trust in a loving and forgiving God, and in my relationship with others, I try to recognize and respect the dignity of every human being. The most satisfying part of my ministry was teaching the social doctrine of the Church to the benefit of those in need and the poor." He has left us a testimony of living that principle in his autobiography entitled 'El Poche'. Visitation on Friday, November 9 from 2:00-9:00pm at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church 3200 E. 91st Street, Chicago, IL 60617 with a prayer service at 8:00pm. On Saturday, November 10 viewing from 8:30-10:00am until time of Mass of the Resurrection at 10:00am. Interment Queen of Heaven Cemetery Hillside, IL.
FATHER JOHN G. HENCIER, C.M.F. (1925-2012)
Father John G. Hencier, C.M.F., 87 years of age, died at St. John of God Retirement Center in Los Angeles, CA on August 28, 2012. He was born on July 22, 1925 in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1970 at the age of 45 he made his first vows and was ordained in 1972 a Claretian Priest at Claretville Seminary in Calabasas, California. His first assignment led him to the state of Colorado; he served at St. Anne’s Church in Arvada, St. Francis de Sales Church in Lamar and St. Leander’s Church in Pueblo until 1980. Later he was assigned to serve for the V.A.M.C as a U.S. Chaplain. In 1988 his ministerial duty called him to serve at Sacred Heart Church in Prescott, Arizona, St. John’s Church in San Marcos, Texas, and San Gabriel Mission in San Gabriel, California. Fr. John will always be remembered for his availability, dedication and compassion as a missionary. A viewing will be held at 9:00am at San Gabriel Mission on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 with a Rosary at 9:45am, followed by the Mass of Resurrection. He will be laid to rest at San Gabriel Mission. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Fr. John Hencier, CMF may be sent to the Claretian Missionaries at 10203 Lower Azusa Rd, Temple City, CA 91780.
FATHER FRANK J. PYKA, C.M.F. (1921-2012)
Fr. Frank Pyka was born in the town of Miami, Arizona on April 2, 1921. Coming to know of the Claretian Missionaries through their work in the Phoenix area, Fr. Frank would enter Dominguez Seminary, Compton, California and make his 1st Profession on July 16, 1940. It would be here that he would continue his studies in Philosophy for the next three years. On July 16, 1943 he would again take his Perpetual Profession as a Claretian at Dominguez Seminary and continue his studies for the priesthood. During his days at Dominguez Seminary, Fr. Frank was known to be very athletic and participated in many of the interscholastic activities with other seminarians. This competitive edge would stay with Fr. Frank throughout his life. After completing his studies for the priesthood at Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., he would be ordained on December 21, 1946 at Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California by Bishop Timothy Manning.
Immediately after ordination, Fr. Frank would become assistant Prefect of Students at Dominguez Seminary and in 1947 be assigned to Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Chicago as Pastoral Associate. The following year he would move north to St. Francis of Assisi Church, Chicago also as Pastoral Associate. With the need for new missionaries in England, Fr. Frank accepted this assignment with other Claretians from the United States. For the next 16 years he would serve at the CMF seminaries of Streetley, Highcliffe, Blackwell, and Buckden as Prefect and Master of Novices. He also served in the parish of St. Edmund, Loughton as Pastoral Associate for two years and as USAF chaplain in 1965. In 1966 he returned to the U.S. and served in a number of parishes for the next 34 years. Fr. Frank arrived at Sacred Heart Church, Prescott, Arizona in 1966. In 1972, he began his tenure at San Gabriel Mission, San Gabriel and returned to Sacred Heart in 1978. He would be part of the new team at St. Louise Parish, Bellevue, Washington for the next four years. In 1985, he would be assigned to La Purisima Church, Orange, California. Again he would return to Sacred Heart in 1990. In 1998, he would be called to help at San Gabriel Mission until his retirement in 2000. Fr. Frank would move to Casa Claret at Dominguez, Rancho Dominguez and assist in whatever need was found in his new community.
As a young student at Dominguez Seminary or at Catholic University, Fr. Frank came to understand his call to serve as a missionary where the need was greatest. He accepted any challenge to attend to the needs of the people in the parish or students in the seminary. Where some of his assignments called for him to speak Spanish, Fr. Frank used his gifts of compassion and a listening ear to meet the needs of the parishioners. He also took time to relax and whenever possible to drive down to the Sea for deep sea fishing. If he was landlocked, the lakes would do but Fr. Frank favored the deep sea to catch dinner. This past year Fr. Frank would encounter physical hardships and would have to be transferred to Santa Teresita Manor, Duarte, California. As his health continued to decline, he would be called to his eternal reward on August, 23, 2012 at Santa Teresita Manor, Duarte, California.
FATHER JOSEPH M. GAMM, C.M.F. (1920-2012)
Father Joseph M. Gamm, C.M.F., 92 years of age, died at Santa Teresita Manor in Duarte, California on August 21, 2012.
He was born on July 17, 1920, in Istria, Italy. He entered Dominguez Seminary in Compton, California in 1938, and in 1939 he professed his first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience at the age of 19. In 1945 he was ordained to the priesthood at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Chicago, Illinois.
His missionary work began with his first assignment as professor of Theology at Dominguez Seminary in Compton, California. After teaching there for one year he was assigned to St. Jude Seminary in Momence, Illinois were he continued to teach. As a missionary he was assigned to various parishes. Among his many assignments he served as associate pastor at Holy Family Church in Sweetwater, Texas; at Immaculate Heart Church in Phoenix, Arizona; and Christ the King Church in San Antonio, Texas; Sacred Heart Church in Prescott, Arizona; and Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Los Angeles. His missionary work later took him to Loughton, England to serve as pastor at St. Edmund’s Church from 1950 to 1957. He served in the capacity of vice-principal at Mission High School in San Gabriel, California; vocation director at Dominguez Seminary; chaplain at St. John’s Church in San Marcos, Texas. He served as pastor and superior of various parishes: Our Lady of Solitude in Los Angeles, California; Sacred Heart Parish in Prescott, Arizona; St. William’s Church in Fort Lupton, Colorado and St. John’s Church in San Marcos, Texas.
Fr. Joe’s dedication and his readiness to serve wherever needed took him to various other places. In 1978 he was made director and superior of Mision Claret that cared for migrant farm families in Dallas, Oregon, and then continued on as Diocesan Vicar for Hispanic Ministry at St. Mary’s Church in Hood River, Oregon. In 1987 he moved to Arizona to serve as director and superior for three years at Claret Cursillo Center in Phoenix.
Fr. Joe returned to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 2003. As a missionary, he continued to serve wherever he was needed. While residing at Dominguez Seminary he dedicated his time to outreach ministry at parishes such as Mission San Conrado near Dodger Stadium.
Fr.Joe’s dedication, love, and accomplishments as a missionary will always be treasured in the hearts of those he touched.
His funeral service is Monday, August 27, 2012 at Dominguez Seminary. Viewing at 9:00am, Rosary at 9:45am, followed by the Mass of Resurrection. Immediately following Mass, Fr. Joe will be laid to rest at San Gabriel Mission.
FATHER PATRICK JAMES McPOLIN, C.M.F. (1916-2012)
Rev. Patrick James McPolin, C.M.F a Claretian Missionary Priest was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 30, 1916 and died on August 15, 2012 at the Little Sisters of the Poor Nursing Home in San Pedro.
He was the oldest son of Irish Immigrant parents. He was predeceased by his parents, Patrick and Mary McPolin, his brother, John, his step-mother, Adele, and his step-sister, Lorraine. He is survived by his sister-in-law, Bernadine McPolin and step-brother, Robert Shields and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, his fellow Claretian Priests and Brothers and his faithful and loyal assistant and caregiver, Betty Gemelli.
He entered St. Jude Seminary in Chicago, as the first American to join this new order of Spanish Priests in the United States. In 1934, he finished his 5th year of junior seminary studies at Silver Peak in Walnut, California. After a year of prayer in San Marcos, Texas he took his religious vows. He came to Dominguez Seminary in Compton, California in 1936 and studied there until his ordination in May, 1943 at the Old Plaza Church in Los Angeles (Our Lady Queen of the Angels).
Following his Ordination, Father Pat was transferred back to Chicago where he did parish work in various Latino parishes on the South Side of Chicago with at risk teens as well as performing the duties of Chaplain of the Chicago Police Department from 1943-1965.
In October, 1965, Fr. Pat was transferred to the Claretian Western Province as Provincial for the next six years. In 1972 he became Director of Centre and Asst. Pastor at Our Lady of Soledad Church in East LA. 1974 brought him full circle and back to Dominguez where he became Rector & Superior. It was here that he took up his childhood history project of researching California’s early history, the Dominguez Family and Aviation. For the next 30 years he rebuilt the Adobe that he once studied into the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum and turned it into one of the most historical places in all of Southern California.
Visitation and viewing will take place on Friday, August 17, 2012 from 2:00 to 5:00 PM, with the rosary prayed at 4:00 pm at the Little Sisters of the Poor Nursing Home Chapel, 2100 South Western Ave., San Pedro, CA 90732.
On Saturday, August 18, 2012 there will be a viewing beginning at 12:00 noon, followed by the Mass of Resurrection at 12:30 pm at the SAN GABRIEL MISSION, 428 S. Mission Drive, San Gabriel, CA 91776. After the Mass the Rite of Burial will follow in the mission cemetery.
FATHER IGNACIO A. BLANCO, C.M.F. (1927-2012)
Rev. Ignacio A. Blanco, C.M.F., age 84 was born to eternal life on Saturday, July 7, 2012. He was born on September 24, 1927 inCampo de Villa Videl, Leon, Spain to Horacio and Delfina Blanco. Father Blanco was ordained a priest on July 8, 1951 in Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Logrono), Spain. As a Claretian Priest he served in Pangasinan, Santa Barbara, Philippines; Santa Maria, Zamboanga, Philippines; Isabela, Basilan, Philippines; Cathedral, Zamboanga, Philippines; Lamitan, Basilan, Philippines; St. John's Church, San Marcos, TX; Claret School, Quezon City, Philippines; All Saints' Church, Fort Worth, TX; Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in San Antonio, Texas. Father Blanco is survived by his siblings, Pedro Blanco, Consuelo Blanco, Deli Blanco, and Eulogio Blanco; as well as numerous uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, grandnephews, and grandnieces. The Mass of Resurrection was held on Friday, July 20, 2012 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in San Antonio, Texas. Fr. Blanco was laid to rest at San Fernando Archdiocese Cemetery.
FATHER JUAN M. COROMINAS, C.M.F. (1920-2012)
Fr. Juan Corominas, CMF was born December 7, 1920 in Banyolas, region of Gerona in the Province of Catalonia, Spain. He grew up during very tumultuous times in Spain which finally exploded into civil war in 1936. At 17 years of age he enlisted in the army during the Spanish civil war. The deep friendships he made in the army, some of which died in his arms, and the brutality of the war was a turning point in his life. After the war, together with other army friends he entered the Claretian Missionaries.
He made first profession on July 16, 1942, and was ordained to the priesthood on July 16, 1949 in Tarragona, Spain. He became a well-known preacher and retreat master, particularly to youth and religious communities. Later on he was made professor of Philosophy and Sociology in the Claretian Seminaries.
In 1962 he received a L.C. degree in Philosophy from the Pontificia Angelicum in Rome, after which he was assigned to the Claretian Western Province in the U.S. From 1970 -1977 he studied at USC from where he received two M.A .’s (Philosophy and Spanish) and a PhD (Spanish). He taught at Dominguez University and Compton College for many years. He lectured in universities in Europe and Latin America, and published many monographs in various publications in Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese. At Dominguez University he founded the Instituto de Culture Hispanoamericana which he later moved to Rancho Dominguez. He also co-founded the Casal dels Catalans de California.
Fr. Juan Corominas served in the parishes of Plaza Church, El Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Our Lady of the Rosary, and was also a Chaplain at the now closed Santa Martha hospital. In the 1970’s Fr. Corominas was active in Spanish television and radio in Los Angeles.
Fr. Corominas received many awards and recognitions, one of them from King Juan Carlos of Spain for his cultural and academic contributions to Spain, particularly to his native Catalan culture, but the one recognition that was dear to his heart was his priesthood. It was his priesthood, his spiritual fatherhood that gave him the most satisfaction. It was in his priesthood that he saw the hand of God most clearly and where he recognized the most how blessed he was. He served mostly among the Spanish speaking Catholic Mexican community in Los Angeles and he will be greatly missed for his passion and great devotion in serving them. His passionate preaching, ministry to families and his constant emphasis on education was an inspiration and motivation to all who came in contact with him.
Fr. Juan Corominas was born into eternal life on April 26, 2012 at Santa Teresita’s Manor in Duarte, California. His Mass of Resurrection and Burial took place on May 1, 2012 in San Gabriel Mission, San Gabriel, CA. (Read more: Click here for Eulogy)
FATHER ISIDORO GARCIA, CMF (1930-2011)
Fr. Isidoro Garcia, CMF, 81, died peacefully at Santa Teresita Manor in Duarte, CA on October 27, 2011. Funeral Mass and Burial took place October 31, 2011 at Dominguez Seminary in Rancho Dominguez, CA.
Fr. Isidoro Garcia, C.M.F., was born in Corella (Navarre), Spain, began his religious studies in Vic, he went on to study philosophy in Valls, later being assigned to the Province of the United States, where he studied theology at the Catholic University of Washington, later Ordained a Claretian Missionary in the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, in Chicago by Bishop Peter Crane, CMF
Fr. Garcia obtained his degree of STL in the Catholic University of Washington, was assigned to the emerging mission of the Philippines, where he worked for 10 years on the island of Basilan, ministering as Pastor and Director of the Parish School, and as chaplain at the Zamboanga Hospital.
Fr. Garcia returned to the U.S.A. as a member of the Western Province in the United States. It was here he displayed a great variety of missionary activities for 20 years, working mostly alone, and opening new avenues in parishes with large Hispanic ministry need. By his example, Isidoro gave reason to many American priests to learn Spanish to better meet the spiritual needs of Hispanic people.
Fr. Garcia was always open to accepting difficult religious assignments, he would accept the numerous requests of Bishops to the Claretians, to assist the continued growth of Hispanics in the U.S.. Thus toured several states in the nation: from New Jersey, through Arizona (Yuma), California (El Monte, Fresno, Reedley, Cotati, Lakeport), ranging as great missionary to Oregon (Medford), Colorado (Fort Lupton) and Nevada (Las Vegas, Carlin, Eureka, Pahrump and Amargosa Valley) coming to Panama where he served several years as Secretary of the Claretian Bishop. He assisted as Chaplain the Cordimarian Sisters in San Antonio, Texas, and even accepted the difficult task of Seligman in Arizona.
Tired, and victim of ailments, he secluded himself in Claret House in Rancho Dominguez (CA), where for several years has held various ministries, perhaps the most poetic and attractive fly by helicopter every Saturday to visit Catalina Island and attend the faithful in the Eucharist. So, tired of years of work, and victim of difficulties in the digestive system, gave his soul to the loving Father Oct. 27, 2011 in Santa Teresita Nursing Home (Duarte, CA).
Certainly at this time, Isidore, a tireless worker in the vineyard of the Father, is already enjoying the consoling promise that our Founder left us when we said, 'God have revealed that those who persevere until death in the Congregation be saved '.
Rev. Theo Fuentes, C.M.F.
(Click here for Spanish text of Obituary)
FATHER EDWARD J. WIDMER, C.M.F. (1922-2010)
Funeral Mass and Burial took place Thursday, February 11, 2010 at San Gabriel Mission, San Gabriel, CA, for Father Edward Widmer, CMF , 87, a Claretian Missionary for 70 years, who died after several months of declining health on February 11, 2010 in San Gabriel, CA.
The Chicago native who had studied at Dominguez Seminary in Compton was ordained in 1951 by the famous Claretian Missionary bishop of Panama, Joseph Preciado. He went on to master in English literature at Loyola University in Los Angeles which sharpened his love for the clever turn of phrase, the apt choice of words, and a dulcet tone in public speaking. Many knew him as a happy young priest at Soledad, in East Los Angeles, and Immaculate Conception, in Yuma, Arizona. There he cultivated priestly vocations among altar boys with waterskiing on the Colorado, trips to the seminary in Los Angeles, and Saturday morning Spanish classes that would put them in good stead for bilingual ministry. One of them was the future vicar general of the Tucson Diocese, John Allt. He taught seminarians at Dominguez and Claretville and enjoyed double-meaning jokes, as well as a quick dip in the pool with a swimsuit ready under his cassock. After parish work at the Claretian parishes of Stockton, California and Plaza Church, Los Angeles, he escaped the irritations of common life for a number of years, between 1966 and 1987, to serve as chaplain to various hospitals and parishes in Illinois, West Virginia, Minnesota, California and North Dakota. Famously, he once drove a pastor out of church on Christmas night as the monsignor was getting ready to take Edward’s place on the altar after he had overslept the time of mass. When he returned to community after a two year leave, he served in outreach ministry while residing at Dominguez Seminary. While in retirement at Nazareth House in Los Angeles he read every novel he could find, and was popular with fellow residents who elected him their president. Bedridden and more taciturn at Fernview Convalescent Center in San Gabriel, he still had a good appetite till the end.
FATHER ALBERT J CONNORS, C.M.F. (1919-2008)
Funeral Mass and Burial will take place Thursday, December 11, 2008 at San Gabriel Mission, San Gabriel, CA, for Father Albert J. Connors, CMF , 89, a Claretian Missionary for 35 years, who died unexpectedly December 2, 2008 in Torrance, CA. Father Albert Connors joined the Claretian Missionaries after having served as a Christian Brother for 34 years. He made his final profession in 1973 and was ordained later that same year as a Claretian Priest. His first assignment was as Associate Pastor and Hospital Chaplian at Sacred Heart Parish in Prescott, AZ. He later went on to serve in various ministries: as Pastor and Superior at St. Louise's Church in Bellevue, WA.; Sacred Heart Parish as Pastoral VicarIn 1985 he returned to Sacred Heart Parish as Pastoral Vicar; therafter, he went to reside at Dominguez Seminary were he directed the Development program for the Province and countinued his outreach ministry in the community. Father Connors will always be remembered for his dedication and prayful spirit. He is survived by nieces and nephews.
FLAVIAN WILLATHGAMUWA, C.M.F. (1919-2008)
Father Flavian Willathgamuwa, CMF, born January 7, 1919 in the British colony of Ceylon, was raised in a small Catholic village in a predominantly Buddhist country. His parents hoped to send him to the island’s leading educational institution, St. Benedict’s College, but could not pay the $6-a-month tuition. This disappointment did not crush his spirit as later he would be trained by Christian Brothers, a teaching order he joined as Brother Flavian Joseph. Eventually, he became the provincial superior of its schools in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as well as serving as the principal of St. Benedict’s College. Because of his dedication to education he was chosen as his nation’s UNESCO representative at the United Nations. This led to various scholarships to study in the U.S. where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Italian mystic Padre Pio whom he met in the late 1960s told him to center his life on the Eucharist and Marian devotion. This moved him to become a Claretian Missionary priest in 1983. As such he served as associate pastor at Mission San Gabriel in San Gabriel, and St. Louise and St. John Bosco in Washington, where he counseled drug addicts and AIDS patients, healed broken families, and established prayer groups for the San Gabriel Valley and Riverside County.
His promotion of Buddhist Christian understanding is well known. His school was the first in Sri Lanka to have a Buddhist monk as chief guest at awards ceremonies, and families in California often offered him a share when they brought alms to their Buddhist clergy. A proud Singhalese, he also encouraged his Tamil brothers at the start of the interethnic Claretian community in his homeland.
Neither congestive heart disease nor meningitis prevented him from radiating irrepressible joy to all who encountered him. He died June 11th after suffering many health complications, and will be missed by countless friends and acquaintances, and several nieces and nephews. Funeral mass and burial are Friday, June 20th at San Gabriel Mission, San Gabriel. Memorial donations can be forwarded to the Claretian Missionaries at 414 S. Mission Drive, San Gabriel, CA 91776.
FATHER HENRY J. LUNA, C.M.F.
Mass and Burial will take place
Saturday, February 16, 2008
at San Gabriel Mission, San
Gabriel, CA, for Father
Henry J. Luna, CMF ,
80, a Claretian Missionary for
53 years, who died unexpectedly
February 6, 2008 in Torrance,
CA. Born and raised in Los Angeles,
CA, he came to know and love
the priests and Brothers at
the old Plaza Church near his
home, and decided to join them.
He made his first profession
of vows as a Claretian Missionary
at Immaculate Heart Novitiate
in Los Angeles , CA , and was
ordained a priest at Claretville
Seminary, Calabasas , CA , on
August 24, 1955. His first assignment
was as Assistant Novice Master
at the Los Angeles novitiate.
Thereafter, he went to serve
at various parishes: as Associate
Pastor at St. Francis Xavier,
El Paso , TX ; La Placita, Los
Angeles , CA ; Christ the King,
San Antonio , TX ; All Saints,
Fort Worth , TX ; St. Anthony
Claret, Fresno, CA and as Pastor
and Superior at Immaculate Heart
of Mary, San Antonio, TX and
St. John's, San Marcos, TX.
His brothers and the people
of the various communities he
served with such dedication
will remember him for his gentleness
and compassionate heart. He
is survived by nieces and nephews.