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Rev. Peter Mastrobuono, SCJ, SCJ

Deceased: 2016-07-27


ICTE Spring: 1995

Fr. Peter Mastrobuono, SCJ, died on the morning of July 27, 2016 in Brookfield, WI. He was 76 and had been in nursing care for the past few months.

Originally from Cleveland, OH, Fr. Peter entered the Priests of the Sacred Heart in 1959. On December 17th he would have celebrated his 50th anniversary of priesthood.

Fr. Peter studied philosophy at the SCJs’ Kilroe Seminary in Honesdale, PA, and earned an S.T.B. at the Gregorian University in Rome. On summer break from his studies in Rome he went to Spain to learn Spanish, which proved to be instrumental in his future ministry.

In 1968, after a year at St. Joseph’s Indian School in South Dakota, Fr. Peter was assigned to Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Raymondville, Texas.

“Brownsville is a small city which borders Matamoros, Mexico,” said Fr. Peter about his first assignment in Texas. “There I noticed how many people crossed the border from Mexico to work on the American side. Some came with papers, some without. But we treated them all with love and respect.”

He continued to minister in Texas for the next 48 years. Besides Our Lady of Guadalupe in Raymondville, Fr. Peter also served at OLG in Brownsville, OLG in Houston, Our Lady of Fatima in Galena Park, St. Philip of Jesus in Houston, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Houston, and at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, also in Houston.

Fr. Peter said that he especially enjoyed serving the working poor. “They are a group that is often overlooked,” he said. “They are employed but are far from being out of poverty. With low wages, they work long hours, often at night and still have barely enough to keep up with the bills. But they are trying; doing the best that they can.”

Last year Fr. Peter was asked to reflect on his experience of migration for a project organized by the North American Immigration Committee. “Because I have been in South Texas for so long I probably have worked with more undocumented workers than anyone else in the province,” he said.

“One very notable experience was in 1986. In that year President Ronald Reagan declared a year of amnesty for all undocumented people who could prove that they had arrived in the United States before 1982. At the time I was pastor of St. Philip of Jesus, a primarily Hispanic parish in East Houston. A person who had a paper signed by a pastor of a church saying that he or she came before 1982 could stay in the United States. Since I had arrived in South Texas in 1968, and in Houston in 1975, I was able to write many papers for people to stay in this country.”

Although officially retired in 2009, Fr. Peter continued to assist at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston until earlier this year when declining health necessitated that he move to nursing care.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held for Fr. Peter at Sacred Heart Monastery.