Legendary Catholic priest, Father Richard Brown, from the Catholic Diocese in San Diego, passed away Wednesday morning in Northern California, confirmed Aida Bustos from the office of the Diocese of San Diego.
Brown, who was the head of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe for 37 years in Barrio Logan, died at age 93 of natural causes.
He was a champion of social justice causes and education who led the Latin Catholic community of San Diego. His dedication to the Catholic community in Barrio Logan made him occupy a special place in the hearts of many families for generations.
"He celebrated my first communion, my quinceañera, he married me, baptized my children and me, celebrated my 25 years of marriage, and when my husband passed away. He has always been there for me," said Bertha Olivas, a parishioner when the priest was preparing to retire in March 2018.
Although he retired in 2005, he remained active for several years in his community, where he gave daily masses until 2018, the Catholic Diocese of San Diego reported.
In 2018, Brown, known as the "Padre del Barrio" or "Father of the Barrio," moved to the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California, a retirement home for priests.
Barrio Station, where Brown was a pastor, Vice President, and President of the Board of Directors for over five years, released a statement following his death.
Barrio Logan is mourning yet celebrating the life and passing of Father Brown. It’s a mixed feeling because in the great communication among the thousands of members of the church congregation and Barrio Station, his service as a Pastor and the Vice President and President of the Barrio Station Board of Directors for over 5 decades, was a blessing to all. While shedding many tears everyone had other fond memories of Father Brown.
Barrio Station is asking the community to honor Brown by a shelter in place tribute by creating an altar with candles or flowers on their front porches.
His home in Our Lady of Guadalupe plans to hold a mass in his honor when the health orders allow it, Bustos reported.