Father Francisco Jimenez Araya, the Chilean priest who was diagnosed with cancer shortly before his ordination, died Wednesday morning in a hospital in the town of Illapel. He faced his illness with great courage, and despite thinking at one point that he would not fulfill his life’s dream, he was able to do so before dying.
Know to family and friends as “Panchito,” Father Jimenez was ordained last January 11 at the Holy Cure d’Ars Home for retired priests in Santiago in a ceremony lead by Bishop Rafael de la Barra of Illapel. He chose a verse from Psalm 99 as his priestly motto: “Serve the Lord with joy.”
Father Jimenez was born in El Peral, Chile, and began his studies for the priesthood at St. Rafael’s Major Pontifical Seminary. He was ordained a deacon last June and worked at parishes in Illapel. He was diagnosed with cancer as he was preparing for his priestly ordination.
According to a statement by the Diocese of Valparaiso, the funeral for Father Jimenez was scheduled to take place Thursday morning at the Cathedral of Illapel. Pictures of Father Jimenez can be seen at http://www.ssanrafael.cl/