Father Xavier Espinoza was born February 16, 1941 in Zapotlanejo, Jalisco, Mexico and passed away on July 18, 2022 at 81 years old.
Ordained a priest in the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico on December 23, 1967, Father Espinoza was part of the Archdiocese of Denver since 1998 and began his service to the Catholic community in Colorado at St. Augustine Parish in Brighton. During his various pastoral assignments, he served in many parishes in the Archdiocese of Denver, including St. Cajetan Parish in Denver and St. Therese in Aurora, where he served until his death in July. One of the priorities of Father Espinoza was always to support the Hispanic community and to know their needs.
“Father Xavier always got us out of trouble. He was always available to hear confessions at our youth events; he was very accommodating and committed with the sacrament of Reconciliation,” shared Alejandra Bravo, Director of Pastoral Juvenil, the ministry of the Archdiocese of Denver to Spanish-speaking youth.
On July 20, relatives, friends and members of the community gave their final farewell in Zapotlanejo, Jalisco, Mexico where Father Espinoza’s funeral took place. Also, St. Therese Parish in Aurora, the last parish in which the priest served, joined in honoring his memory with a special rosary and Mass.
“As Father Xavier has entered eternal life, we continue to pray for the repose of his soul, trusting that our Lord Jesus Christ, whom he faithfully served, will be for him a merciful judge, inviting him to enter the house of the Father,” said St. Therese Parish on their Facebook account.
In the same way, St. Cajetan Parish in Denver also grieved the loss of their former priest, beloved by the community.
“May the angels lead you to paradise, Gemma, and at your arrival may the martyrs receive you and introduce you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May the choir of angels receive you, and may Christ, your Lord, bring you to the breast of Abraham, so that, with Lazarus, you may have eternal rest. Rest in peace Father Xavier Espinoza,” said the message, quoting from the final commendation of the funeral liturgy.
Father Benito Hernandez, pastor of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Denver, shared with the Denver Catholic a bit about Father Espinoza’s legacy to the Hispanic community in Denver.
“He was always participating and supporting the groups and movements in the parishes where he was serving. He left us a wonderful and excellent example of what it means to be a priest and pastor that knows how to listen to the needs of his people,” said Father Hernandez.
“A very committed priest, very noble, very pastoral. He paid attention to everything. He was nice and he taught us the Word, but also the realities of the world. We were very sad when he was reassigned to St. Therese,” added Linda Sosa, a parishioner of St. Cajetan.
St. Cajetan Parish published a farewell video that Father Espinoza recorded before he left the parish some time ago, addressed to the community, in which he said, “I am very grateful to you all for the warmth, hospitality, and patience that you have shown me… In this moment, I feel sad to have to leave you… It was a joy to have you all in my life. It is time to say farewell. Goodbye, my friends. Please pray for me as I pray for each of you. My body goes on, but my soul will remain here with you.”
The faithful that knew Father Espinoza bid him farewell in the comment section with prayers and messages of thanks. “Thank you for your teachings, your simplicity, your closeness, your ability to listen, to love. Rest in peace, Father Xavier, and may eternal light shine upon you,” wrote Elizabeth Caballero.
“May you rest in peace, Father Xavier. It was an honor to have known you. Thank you for giving of yourself to your mission, and may the heavens open wide for your triumphant entry, for being a holy priest,” wrote Ramona Torres Cruz. “We will miss you very much.”