Fr. Vicente

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Pastor Fr. Vicente Paz en la Casa
1941–2012

     Fr. Vicente was born in Willington Quay, Northumberland, England, on the River Tyne, in 1941 during the Second World War. His earliest memories are of sirens, exploding bombs, and anti-aircraft guns His family had a bomb shelter, dug in the back yard where his mother took him during the bombing raids. His father was a coppersmith in the nearby shipyards.

     The family was made up of Nora, his mother, Jimmy, his father, and his one surviving sister, Leonie. The family belonged to the parish of St. Aidan of Lindisfarne, one of the many Celtic saints of North-East England The people of the parish were mainly descendants of Irish immigrants who had come to England from Ireland for economic reasons. Fr. Vicente's grandfather on his mother's side came from Connemara in Western Ireland. His father's people came from a remote rural area in County Durham, England.
     Fr. Vicente attended Catholic grade school until he was eleven years old. Catholic parochial schools in England are part of the Public School system. At eleven he began to attend a boarding school where he was taught by secular priests until he was eighteen. Inspired by an English priest, Fr. Tom McCormack, he decided to go to a major seminary to train to become a priest. Fr. Vicente says, Fr. McCormack seemed to have the most interesting and purposeful life of any person I knew at that time, and I wanted to live that kind of life too."
     He attended Ushaw College, Durham, where, in six years, he received a degree in Philosophy and a Masters degree in Theology. Later, after he arrived in the United States, he received an American degree in Philosophy from Regis University and a Doctorate in Preaching.
     After he was ordained a priest in 1966 he served for one year in an inner city parish in Newcastle upon Tyne, a large industrial city. After a year he was recalled to Ushaw College to teach English Literature. He taught for four years and then was appointed to a large suburban parish. While he was there he met an American Franciscan priest from Santa Barbara, California, who persuaded him to come and work as a priest in Pueblo, Colorado.
     He began his life in the United States of America in 1975, serving as a priest in Assumption Church, Pueblo, and St. Francis Xavier Church, Pueblo. After that he was asked to go to St. Columba Church, Durango, and then was appointed pastor of St Michael's, Delta, and St Phillip's, Cedaredge. In these two parishes he introduced the concept of Stewardship for the first time. After five years Bishop Tafoya asked him to return to Pueblo to become pastor of St. Francis Xavier. While there he renovated the church, and built new parish offices. He also introduced Stewardship, again for the first time.
     In 1991 Fr. Vicente asked Bishop Tafoya if he could go to the Shrine of St. Therese, Pueblo, as pastor. During the eleven years he was there he built the new church to tell the story of St Therese of Lisieux, renovated the parish hall and offices and moved the parish community from the concept of Stewardship into the concept of Development.
     Two years later Bishop Tafoya asked Fr. Vicente if he would go to Grand Junction to become pastor of the mega-parish of Immaculate Heart of Mary. While there he introduced the concept and practice of Development to the community. Unfortunately, he suffered a heart attack. This heart attack came on top of two serious lung surgeries he had undergone in previous years. He informed the bishop that he did not have the energy to administer a large Catholic parish like Immaculate Heart of Mary and Holy Family Catholic School
     Bishop Tafoya asked him if he would become pastor of St. Benedict's, Florence, and Our Lady of the Assumption, Westcliffe, which he gladly agreed to do, beginning as the new pastor on July 1, 2005.

    After nearly seven years as pastor, Fr. Vicente passed away on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 1:00 a.m. following a heart attack on Friday, February 3.  Pueblo Chieftain obituary here. Vigil Services were held at Assumption and St. Benedict's on Thursday, February 9, 2012. The Mass of Christan Burial was held at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Pueblo on Friday, February 10, 2012. Photos of both services with links to the readings at the Mass are available by clicking here.
    Interment followed the Mass in the San Juan Bautista Cemetery, south of Florence, on Victory Lane (County Road 19). Directions: going south of Florence on Hwy. 67 about a quarter mile after crossing the railroad tracks, at the first left turn, turn east (left) onto Victory Lane/County Road 19, go approximately half mile, cemetery will be on the right. Drive around to the entrance on the east side. Fr. Vicente's grave is about 30' inside the entrance on the left. For a map click here, will open in new window or tab. 

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