Raymundo J. Peña, who served as bishop of El Paso from 1980-1995, died on Friday at a nursing home in San Juan, Texas. He was 87.
“Our prayers are with the soul of Bishop Peña and his entire family during this difficult time,” current El Paso Bishop Mark J. Seitz said. “We pray that as he makes the transition to his home with Our Heavenly Father, he may intercede for us, and all the faithful he served during his ministry on earth.”
Peña was the fourth man to serve as bishop of El Paso’s Roman Catholic diocese, and his 15-year tenure was the third longest for a bishop.
He founded the Tepeyac Institute in 1988 as a formation center for the lay faithful of the diocese. He founded The Rio Grande Catholic diocesan newspaper in 1991, and also founded the Progress Ministry Appeal to help fund the diocesan ministries serving the Diocese of El Paso.
In a statement, the diocese said Peña was a strong advocate for immigration rights along the border and a critic of President Bill Clinton’s plans to build a border fence in El Paso.
Peña was born in Corpus Christi and ordained as a priest there in 1957.
He served in administrative roles for the Archdiocese of San Antonio before being named bishop in El Paso in 1980. He became bishop of Brownsville in 1995, a position he held until submitting his resignation after reaching age 75 in 2009.
The Brownsville diocese said on Sept. 14 that Peña had been taken to the hospital two days earlier but was responding to treatment.
But his condition worsened in recent days.
Services have not yet been announced.
Cover photo courtesy of the El Paso Catholic Diocese.