Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fr. Anthony Perez, SS

The suddenness of death always leaves a stinging emptiness in the heart. This has certainly been the case this week. I am just returning from St. Mary's Seminary - Baltimore and the memorial Mass of a great professor, spiritual director, liturgist, and friend: Fr. Anthony Perez, SS. Fr. Tony went to his reward suddenly this past weekend.

He was completely devoted to his ministry - the formation of seminarians - and touched the lives of a great number of us who have gone on to the priesthood. He was a man of quiet humility, who possessed a great love of the Church's liturgy, and above all, possessed a "priestly heart." I experienced this personally: he was my spiritual director through four years of major seminary. His life was marked by a great zeal and joy in being a priest. He died, somewhat appropriately, surrounded by seminarians on Saturday morning of a massive heart attack. A native of Guam, he had been in the United States teaching since the early nineties: first at St. Patrick's in Menlo Park, and then in Baltimore, at St. Mary's. A Mass was celebrated for the repose of his soul today in the seminary chapel, after which his body was taken to Guam for burial. The sheer number of those in attendance - roughly seventy to eighty priest alumni of the seminary along with many others - was a testament to the effectiveness of his ministry and the powerful example he set.

I was fortunate to have had him as a friend after Ordination as well, and to have the fond memories of having travelled together with him to Italy on several occasions. Archbishop O'Brien, celebrant of the Mass, made a nice comment: "while he has passed from us, Fr. Tony's influence extends throughout the Church in the ministry of those of us who were so influenced by his witness to what it is to be a priest of Jesus Christ." May he receive the reward of his goodness to us. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

Read Fr. Barre's Homily for the Mass HERE.


Gabriel McAuliffe said...

Hello -

I really like your post, except for the fact that Fr. Tony was in the U.S. teaching at least since 1985, for he lived down the hall from me at St. Joseph's College Seminary and was my spiritual director from 1987 through 1991.

He also went to St. Patrick's in the mid 1970s.

I shall miss him dearly, though we have not communicated in a while. He was a great guy and a good priest.


Gabriel McAuliffe

Anonymous said...


Father Tony is a close relative of mine and I was present during his ordination back in Guam. I just heard the news from yet another relative and truly sadden of his passing. He will definetly be missed.

Many Blessings,
Pat Perez Techaira

Padre Paulus said...

Thanks for the clarification... I was only aware of his presence as a professor at St. Patrick's in Menlo Park (after he received his STL from Belgium). Thanks.