Saturday, November 29, 2014

RIP Fr. T.J. Martinez - Beloved Priest - Founder of School for Poor - Dies of Cancer - Age 44

By CHRISTINA R. GARZA Staff Writer The Rev. T.J. Martinez died quietly Friday morning surrounded by his family at the Houston Hospice House in Houston. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in March. The 44-year-old Brownsville native was the eldest son of Mayor Tony Martinez and Carol Berryman. Tony Martinez described his son as an energetic man devoted to God, which might be an understatement when reviewing the accomplishments he reached in his short life. According to a news release from the Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School in Houston, which Father Martinez founded, he entered the Jesuit seminary after receiving a bachelor’s degree in political science with honors from Boston College.
During his training for the priesthood he earned five graduate degrees, including a law degree from the University of Texas and a school leadership degree from Harvard University. Martinez was ordained in 2007. He founded the school in 2009 to provide a free Catholic education to underprivileged youth. According to the news release, the institution has grown from a student population of 80 to nearly 500. Mayor Martinez said students attend school four days out of the week and work the fifth day, ensuring that all students have a job.
At this time the school has graduated two classes of seniors, all whom have been accepted to college. Although Martinez ‘s death is difficult for his family members, his father said their faith is unwavering. “It’s a tough day for all of us who knew him, but from a spiritual standpoint this is what we all believe in the Catholic faith so there is a certain feeling of joy that he is with his father God,” Martinez said. Childhood friends Maryella de la Garza de Gomez and Maria Hinojosa have organized a weekly rosary every Wednesday since they heard the news of Father Martinez’s illness. Hinojosa said they last saw him at the annual Red Mass at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville , where a Mass was held in his honor. Hinojosa explained that it was difficult to accept that his health was deteriorating. “After we spoke to him we realized that he knew it was God’s will and he was at peace with that,” Hinojosa said. De la Garza said they would recite another rosary in his honor next Wednesday.
“I feel we need to have one more for closure for all of us; we will meet at Lola’s at 6 p.m. on Wednesday,” she said. The rosary will be open to the public. Tony Martinez said services for his son are as follows: Visitation will be at Cristo Rey from 5-8 p.m. Monday, with a rosary scheduled at 8 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held Tuesday in Houston and a memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Mary Mother of the Church Parish in Brownsville. Father Martinez will be buried in Gran Coteau , La. Friend Jude Benavides said he attended Martinez ‘s ordination ceremony Louisiana and took his final vows. Benavides said few words could do Martinez justice and he would leave a lasting impact. “The students at Cristo Rey were like his children they’re going to grow up to accomplish amazing things thanks partly to him,” Benavides said. “We have lost a great man but he would want all of us to continue to move forward with courage and a strong faith in God.”
Shared from The Valley Morning Star - Image Source Google 

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