Remembering 'Father Gus'
By ROSE YBARRAThe Valley Catholic
Msgr. Agostinho S. Pacheco, a retired priest of the Diocese of Brownsville, passed away on March 14, 2017 at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg. He was 83.
He retired from active service on Sept. 11, 2007, but remained involved in the diocese until just weeks before his death. Msgr. Pacheco most recently served as a hospital chaplain at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg.
“Monsignor loved that place and they loved him back,” Bishop Daniel E. Flores said at Msgr. Pacheco’s Rosary service on March 16 at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in McAllen.
Msgr. Pacheco provided spiritual support for countless families at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, including Sandra Basaldua and her four children.
Basaldua met Msgr. Pacheco in August 2014 when her husband Rolando was hospitalized and passed away at age 49.
“He has a very special place in my heart,” said Basaldua, a resident of Alamo. “He’s the one who gave my husband his Last Rites. He was there when he passed away.
“He was just a very special person in that sense, for what he did for me and for so many other people.”
Msgr. Pacheco, or “Father Gus,” as many people knew him, was ordained a priest for service in the Diocese of Fall River on Jan. 30, 1960 and transferred to the Diocese of Brownsville in November 1969 at the invitation of Bishop Humberto S. Medeiros.
His first assignment in our diocese was at St. Anthony Parish in Harlingen. He also served at Christ the King Parish in Brownsville, St. Joseph Parish in Alamo, Holy Spirit Parish in McAllen, St. Joseph the Worker Parish in McAllen and Our Lady Queen of the Universe Parish in San Benito.
Msgr. Pacheco’s last assignment was as pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in McAllen, where he served for 14 years. Under his guidance, the parish’s new 1,100-seat sanctuary and office complex were constructed.
In 2005, Father Pacheco was elevated to the status of monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI, at the recommendation of Bishop Raymundo Peña.
The son of the late Manuel and Belmira (Amaral) Pacheco, Msgr. Pacheco was born on Nov. 23, 1933 in Fall River, Mass.
He is survived by his sister, Irene Habib of Westport, Mass.; sisters-in-law, Margarite Pacheco and Elaine Hebert; and several nieces and nephews.
A funeral Mass was celebrated on March 17, 2017 at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in McAllen. He was laid to rest next to his parents in Fall River, Mass.
Memorial contributions may be made to: Our Lady of Sorrows Capital Campaign Fund, 1108 W. Hackberry, McAllen, TX 78501 or to the San Juan Nursing Home, 300 N. Nebraska, San Juan, TX 78589.
The Catholic Diocese of Brownsville received more than 300 messages of condolences and memories on its Facebook page after Msgr. Pacheco’s death. Many were thankful for the prayers and support they received from Msgr. Pacheco during his time as a chaplain at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. Others from across the Rio Grande Valley expressed their gratitude to
Msgr. Pacheco for officiating at their weddings, baptizing their children and for his compassion, especially for those in difficult situations.
“When I was newly arrived at the diocese, never been here before, you quickly learn who the legends are,” Bishop Flores said. “Monsignor was a legend, towering in a certain way.
“He was from Fall River, Massachusetts, coming all this way. It might as well have been another country in some ways, but he came with a great priestly love in his heart. He served in this diocese for 48 years. He persevered in his faith, in the love that God has for us and that is our hope, so let’s take his example to heart.”
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