Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Peace and well-being to you. Today, Father Francisco Valdovinos, a dedicated and passionate servant of Our Lord, was called to eternal rest. I mourn with his family, his religious community – the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity – and all of those in the communities of faith that he has impacted in his years of priesthood, most recently at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mecca. He now rests in the loving arms of God, whom he loved and served so well. Let us all pray for the repose of his soul. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him.

Father Valdovinos was known to many in the Coachella Valley for his tireless work and his spirited voice in the service of God’s people. Those who were poor, downtrodden, or sick could always encounter the Risen Christ in the face of Father Valdovinos. In recent months, Fr. Valdovinos focused his energies on addressing the Covid-19 pandemic. He opened his parish to serve as a Covid-19 testing site and he recorded radio messages urging the people to take health and safety precautions, to get tested and to receive the vaccine when it is available. He understood the threat of the pandemic and he heard God’s call to do his part in protecting the people from it.

Tragically, Father, himself, contracted the coronavirus and it claimed his life. What are we to make of this? We are people of Hope, we believe in the Resurrection and life eternal. Let us take inspiration from Father’s ministry to fight Covid-19 and continue it on in our communities. When we do this, we honor his life and the dignity of all human life.

We now entrust his legacy to the loving care of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who brings Father Valdovinos, and all, to salvation in Her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Christ’s Hope, Peace and Blessings,

Most Reverend Alberto Rojas

The above comes from a Jan. 17 letter sent by the San Bernadino diocese.