Let us thank God for the gift of the life of Father Lupe Sanchez, OSJ, born on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec. 12, 1931.
On Sept. 9, 1956, he made his perpetual profession of religious vows in the Oblates of St. Joseph, an international Congregation of Brothers and Priests founded in Italy by St. Joseph Marello. Fr. Lupe’s spirituality was marked by the Marellian charism of humility, love, faith, and hard work, serving the interests of Jesus in the way of St. Joseph. Fr. Lupe also strove to live the spirituality of the Focolare Movement, living an ordinary life with great love.
Some will remember Fr. Lupe’s prowess as an athlete. He was very skilled at tennis and a good swimmer. Here is an eyewitness account of one of his exploits.
“Once when the whole seminary was at the beach near Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz, 4 people were trapped by a riptide and in danger of drowning, not being able to get back to shore. He swam against the tide and brought them in one by one to shore, with the slight help of another strong swimmer, whom he directed how to do it.”
Truly, Fr. Lupe was very generous in his efforts to serve the needs of others. He cared about the eternal salvation of all. He dedicated his life to the mission of saving souls. He spent hours making himself available in the Sacrament of Reconciliation beyond the scheduled times for Confession. He was a leader in meeting the spiritual needs of Spanish-speaking immigrants. He worked hard collecting and distributing food to the materially poor through the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Holy Family Table and countless home visits.
Fr. Lupe was ordained a priest on June 10, 1960. During his 57 years as a priest, he served the people of God for some years in seminary formation houses in Santa Cruz and Berkeley, but mostly in parishes, a few years each in, Davenport, Planada, Easton, Caruthers and Bakersfield, but a total of 23 years in Madera. His final years were spent in prayer and charitable service at a rest home in Northern Italy.
At the age of 85, he died peacefully on the Lord’s Day, June 18, a day we fittingly celebrated as Fathers’ Day and as the great Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. Let us pray for the eternal repose of Fr. Lupe’s soul, as we can be sure that Fr. Lupe will continue to pray for us.