Rest in Peace, Victor Valdez: Master Catechist, Faithful Servant, Good Friend

I just learned that a friend of mine passed away last month, July 17, 2013, to be exact. I met Victor Valdez when I was doing a speaking engagement in San Francisco in 2008. Victor suffered from recurring brain tumors his entire life yet he dedicated himself tirelessly to the catechetical ministry. On that visit in 2008, he gave up an entire evening to show me around San Francisco since it was my first trip there.

We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, drove around San Francisco, had dinner, and stopped at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, where we were just in time to join in the Liturgy of the Eucharist at the Saturday vigil Mass. On our way to the Cathedral, Victor told me about the shrine at the Cathedral to Our Lady of Guadalupe…a shrine that was very special to him. Years earlier, after receiving the traumatic news of the discovery of a brain tumor, Victor prayed at this shrine where these words, spoken by Mary to Juan Diego, are inscribed:

victor praying at Guadalupe shrine

“Listen, my son, to what I tell you now: do not be troubled nor disturbed by anything; do not fear illness nor any other distressing occurrence, nor pain. Am I not your mother? Am I not life and health? Have I not placed you on my lap and made you my responsibility? Do you need anything else?”

After Mass, Victor showed me around the Cathedral and then we went over to the Guadalupe shrine to pray. Here is a picture of Victor praying before his very special lady.

Over the years, we kept in touch, long-distance, and, at least a couple of times we got a chance to meet and chat at either the NCCL conference or the L.A. Religious Education conference. Victor was a contributor to my blog, sharing some very creative ideas such as his “My Lenten Calendar” which I feature every year as part of my 40 Ideas for 40 Days of Lent feature; his “Passport to the Holy Land” activity for Holy Week; and his suggestion for using Skype technology for religious education.

Occasionally, I would get an email from Victor asking for prayers as he faced yet another surgery. Unfortunately, I did not hear from Victor for well over a year until I saw the notice of his death and this accompanying story.

Rest in peace, Victor! You are no longer troubled or disturbed by the pain and distress you endured in this life for you are now in the arms of your special lady, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. Amen.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at


  1. Joe: Thank you for sharing the story of your friend Victor. I am sorry for your loss. I was inspired when I read his story. God bless Victor and may he rest in peace.

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