El Padre Hernán Ustariz SAC – R.I.P.

Father Hernán Ustariz SAC 1955-2020

Con gran pesar informamos,que esta tarde, partió a la Casa de Padre nuestro hermano, el padre Hernán Ustariz SAC. Brille para él la luz que no tiene fin.
With great sadness we announce the death of Father Hernán Ustariz SAC in Argentina today, March 3rd, 2020. At 3.15pm local time he went home to the House of the Father. May perpetual light shine upon him and may he rest in peace. Amen!

From the Provincial Newsletter:

Fr Hernan Oscar Ustariz, SAC, RIP, 1955-2020.
Our confrere of the Argentina delegature, Hernan Oscar Ustariz, died in the afternoon of Tuesday 3 March at approximately 15.15. He died in San Camilo Hospital, in Buenos Aires, where he had been admitted the previous evening.
Hernan was born in Tigre, in the Province of Buenos Aires, on 15 February 1955 and was the eldest of 4 siblings, Esther, Miriam and Jaimie, and all three survive him. Hernan did his secondary school studies in the Military College of General San Martin, in the Province of Buenos Aires, and the personal discipline and work ethic which characterized his life and ministry were surely honed in those years of secondary education.
Hernan was a ‘late vocation’ to our Province, he had his own very successful market-garden, or vivero as it is called in Argentina, where he grew plants, shrubs and flowers for sale along with all the paraphernalia associated with gardening. In his young adult life he had a good deal of contact with San Patricio Parish, in Belgrano, and with the youth group there and in particular he was a good friend to the late Fr Johnny Mannion. Fr Johnny died of a heart attack in the parish house in Mercedes on January 24 1988 at the early age of 47. Hernan later told me that while attending Johnny’s funeral he promised that he would replace him. During the course of 1988 he settled up his affairs and passed on the vivero to his family and entered our community at the beginning of 1989. Hernan did all his formation in Brazil, in the Santa Maria Province, where he made life-long friends among the Pallottines.
Hernan made his first Consecration as a Pallottine on 16 February 1992 and was ordained to the priesthood on 23 November 1996 in Nuestra Senora de Fatima, Castelar. He lived his entire life as a priest in the newly erected parish Nuestra Senora de Fatima overseeing the building of the parish church, the parish hall and catechetical centre and the parish house.
Fr Hernan rekindled his relationship with the military forces in Argentina in 2005 when he accepted an invitation to be Auxiliary Chaplain of the Air Force at the Base in the city of Moreno; he was entrusted with the pastoral attention of the personnel of the VII Air Brigade Base in Moreno and their families, while attending all the time to the parish and the Pallottine school under the patronage of Nuestra Senora de Fatima in Castelar. In 2014 he was asked to transfer his pastoral service to the Military Air Force Base in Moron, closer to home in Castelar. He continued to exercise this ministry up to his untimely death.
Hernan received a very welcome visit from the Military Ordinary of the Armed Forces in Argentina, Monsignor Santiago Olivera, a friend to Hernan and well known to the Pallottines in Argentina, on Sunday 9 February. Mons. Olivera paid a heartfelt tribute to Fr Hernan when he learnt of his death and he highlighted “his commitment, his integrity, his calm acceptance and his faith throughout his lengthy illness, and his acceptance of the will of God”, and Mons Olivera thanked God for this witness.
Hernan dedicated his 23 years of ministry as a priest to pastoral work, in the parish, among the people of the neighbourhood of Fatima, Castelar, and in the very big school, which is next to the parish and parish house, it is our largest school in Argentina and has approximately 1,200 students throughout its three levels. Hernan was Legal Representative of the school and school chaplain for many years.
He was also bursar to the delegature for an extensive period and carried out this service to the community with precision and care.
He was an excellent ‘asador’, or bar-b-quer, and would routinely prepare the bar-b-ques or asados for the community and indeed for many others besides. He himself enjoyed a good asado and would do it justice.
Fr Hernan was diagnosed with stomach cancer in February 2016 and he knew the seriousness of the diagnosis, he underwent extensive surgery and chemotherapy and indeed underwent further surgery several times over the past four years. Hernan continued working in the parish almost right to the end of his life. He knew that he was not going to recover and faced death calmly and with dignity and a deep faith.
I visited him in the first days of December last year and he was still celebrating Mass daily and going about his ministry as much as he was able. He wanted to be at home in the parish house and this was facilitated by Frs Juan Sebastian Velasco and Charles Lafferty who supported him and who provided personal care and pastoral attention of the parish and school as needed. A palliative care doctor visited Hernan on Monday 2 of March and advised that he be admitted to hospital for hydration and blood transfusions and he was taken to San Camilo Hospital, unfortunately his time there was to be short and he died in the early afternoon of the following day. Juan Sebastian Velasco, Hernan’s sister and a loyal friend from the parish were with him when he died.
Fr Hernan lay in repose in the parish church on Wednesday 4 March from 9am. The concelebrated Funeral Mass took place in the parish church on Thursday 5 March, the principal celebrant was Bishop Jorge Vazquez, Bishop of Moron and all our Pallottine confreres concelebrated together with local diocesan clergy, about 30 priests in total. Juan Sebastian Velasco, Provincial Delegate, preached the homily. His remains will be buried in a plot in front of the parish church alongside Fr Tony Stakelum who died in 2006.
The following is a synopsis of the funeral Mass homily provided by Juan Sebastian:
“In my Father’s house there are many rooms … and I am going to prepare a place for you.” (John 14,2).
My dear sisters and brothers, we are here in community, as family, to celebrate the life of Hernan, the elder brother to his sisters Esther and Miriam and to his brother Jaimie, we are gathered with his nieces and nephews and his brother-in-law Norberto. We celebrate the life of Pancho, as he was called by his companions in promotion 30 of the Military Academy. We celebrate the life of Hernan, the Pallottine priest, and so we his Pallottine brothers are all here with our father Bishop Jorge Vazquez and together with numerous diocesan priests. Also accompanying us are priest chaplains of the Air Force with the chief chaplain Fr Cesar Tauro.
“In my Father’s house there are many rooms … and I am going to prepare a place for you.” (John 14,2). Jesus uttered these words to his disciples during the Last Supper and with these words he was preparing himself and the disciples for what was to come. And what was to come was the death of Jesus himself. For the Christian death is a part of life, perhaps it is the part that we least like, but as followers of Jesus we prepare ourselves for death. How do we do this? In these last months I accompanied Hernan and believe me when I say that he prepared for death as best as he possibly could. He relinquished one by one all the things that are not necessary to take to the house of the Father. Day after day he would call me and he said ‘take the car, I no longer need it;’ ‘take care of Oso (his dog), feed him and take him out for a walk;’ ‘look after the “Campito” (a recreation centre nearby);’ ‘call Susana (Polo, the legal representative of the School) and tell her to organize things;’. And, he went on like this until he was left with nothing. His relinquishing of things was not something of the moment, it was his attitude throughout his life. If you look carefully you will see that there is no plaque that records his name at the inauguration of this church; there are plaques with the names of the bishop, of the architect, the builder, the parish commission, but there is no mention of Hernan’s name.
Hernan now has his dwelling in the house of the Father, and it is surely very neat and tidy. I hope to goodness that the serving saints and angels do not take it into their heads to tidy it up, because if they do they will have to reckon with Hernan!
Many persons have said to me that he has now ceased to suffer, but Hernan did not suffer, he wore out bit by bit, he relinquished everything to the very last drop and breath of life. Today we do not say good-bye to him, first of all because he did not like farewells, and neither do I like them. I simply say to him, as we both did every time we took leave of one another, “Nos vemos” or “See you later”, it is simple but full of hope, “see you later, Hernan”.
P. Juan Sebastian Velasco, SAC.
In the name of the Province I sent the following message to Fr Juan Sebastian Velasco, Provincial Delegate, which was read at the funeral Mass:
“in the name of the entire Irish Province I send you our condolence at the death of our dear brother, Fr Hernan Ustariz.
We are all united with you in these days, united in the celebration of Mass in thanksgiving for Hernan, for his person, for his commitment in ministry and his commitment to our Pallottine community.
I have many happy memories of Hernan and the first one that comes to mind in these days is that of a meeting with him in 1988 shortly after the death of the much-loved Fr Johnny Mannion. On that occasion Hernan told me that the unexpected death of Johnny led him to take the decision to enter our community, and he went through with this decision and entered our
community in February 1989; Hernan put his hand to the plough and never looked back, rather he opened a furrow day after day.
Fr Hernan was a man with a solid and deep faith, and in his own style he was a pious man. He was characterized by his spirit of self-giving, of total dedication to the ministry entrusted to him and he did not seek anything other than to serve.
We give thanks to God for him, for his commitment and for the fortitude which he showed throughout his illness.
We will miss him a great deal but we trust that he is with God, with Our Lady of Fatima, and with his beloved mother, and perhaps he is even having a chat now with Fr Johnny Mannion about the 31 years he lived in our Pallottine Community.
May his faithful soul enjoy eternal happiness with God.”
Our sympathy to Hernan’s sisters, Esther and Miriam, his brother Jaimie, his brother-in-law Norberto and his five nephews and nieces, and to all the parish and school community of Nuestra Senora de Fatima, Castelar.

Date of birth 15-02-1955; First consecration 16-02-1992; Ordination 23-11-1996; Died 03-03-2020.

May his faithful soul enjoy eternal life. Hernan was diagnosed with stomach cancer a few years ago and underwent surgery on a number of occasions, he received radiotherapy and was receiving chemotherapy on a regular basis. He was at home in the parish house of the parish of Nuestra Senora de Fatima until Monday evening and was being cared for by Juan Sebastian Velasco, however his doctor felt he needed hospital care and he was moved to San Camilo. Hernan died peacefully at 15.15. Fr Hernan will lie in repose in the parish today 4th March all day. Concelebrated funeral Mass tomorrow 5th March at 9am. Please remember Hernan in your prayers and Masses in these days and also pray for his sisters and brother and all those who mourn him. 

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)