Rev. Roberto Pena, O.M.I., age 95, died on July 24, 2019 at Oblate Madonna Residence, San Antonio, where he had lived since 2010.
Born into a large family in Aldamas, Nuevo Leon, Mexico on September 3, 1923, he grew up in Harlingen, Texas. He served the United States in World War II and received the Victory Medal for his military service.
Fr. Pena joined the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and pronounced his religious vows in 1949. He was ordained a priest in 1955 in San Antonio. He zealously served in Spanish-speaking parishes in San Antonio, Laredo, Houston, Mission, Del Rio and Eagle Pass. He had a passion for social justice and “Border Ministry.” At one time he served in the Social Action Department of the Diocese of Brownsville. He also pursued studies in Social Anthropology in Washington, DC and University of Notre Dame. Fr. Pena was past president of PADRES (Padres, Asociados, para Derechos, Religiosos, Educativos, Sociales), an association of Mexican-American priests. Until 1984 he was the Oblate U.S. Regional Coordinator for Hispanic Ministry.
In 2017 Fr. Pena celebrated his 60th Anniversary of Priestly Ordination. He is survived by numerous family members and will be remembered with esteem by his brother Oblates and large number of friends.
Fr. Peña was pastor of St. Joseph Church in Del Rio, Texas from 1988-1998.