Father Victor Perez Delgado, a parish priest and prison minister in western Oregon, died after a long illness Feb. 4 in the Archdiocese of San Luis Potosi in Mexico. Known for being a liaison between English- and Spanish-speaking Catholics, he was 72.

News of the death was delayed, and there were no details of funeral services.

Father Perez had halted active ministry in the Archdiocese of Portland for health reasons and moved back to the central Mexican diocese where he grew up and where he was ordained in 1975.

He was born in San Luis Potosi in 1948 and was an altar boy by age 5. Educated by the Sisters of Charity, he studied in Mexican seminaries from 1960 to 1974 and was ordained for the Archdiocese of San Luis Potosi. Father Perez served in several parishes in Mexico for the next 19 years. At one church, he had no running water, telephone or television.

He first visited Oregon in the late 1970s as a friend of the late Father Frank Knusel, who led early Hispanic ministry in Oregon. In 1981-82, Father Perez served a six month assignment to Mission San Juan Macias in Portland. He said he fell in love with the Pacific Northwest’s lush greenery.

In 1994 he returned to Oregon and was assigned as parochial vicar for a year at St. Patrick in Portland and for the following year at Sacred Heart in Medford. He then was administrator at St. Patrick in Independence from 1996 to 2000.

Father Perez was popular with both Spanish- and English-speakers, who say he went out of his way to accommodate everyone. “He's a wonderful priest,” longtime Independence parishioner Dorothy Desmarteau told the Sentinel in 1998.

He led workshops on ethnic understanding for the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women and celebrated Masses for the Catholic Daughters of the Americas.

At St. Mary in Eugene, where he was parochial vicar from 2000 to 2004, he led Bible studies and prayer groups in Spanish and had friends in the English-speaking community.

Father Perez was incardinated into the Archdiocese of Portland in February 2004.

In 2005, parishioners in McMinnville threw a large bilingual party at a local park for the 30th anniversary of his ordination. He was serving there, as well as at Good Shepherd in Sheridan and St. Michael in Grand Ronde.

In 2007, he took a four-month sabbatical to the Holy Land and Rome, studying the sacraments and church history. Throughout his ministry, he visited Mexico regularly to see family and baptize nieces and nephews.

Father Perez was assigned to Oregon prison ministry from 2009 to 2014, making many friends within both language groups.

He was parochial vicar at Shepherd of the Valley in Central Point and Our Lady of Fatima in Shady Cove from 2014 to 2018.

Father Perez helped in Central Point with outreach to youths, including those who live at migrant worker camps.

For much of his priesthood, Father Perez was a leader in the Cursillo movement, short courses in Christianity that help people embrace Jesus and the church anew. He had made a Cursillo as a seminarian in Mexico.

In 1998, he told the Catholic Sentinel about the movement that was central to his spiritual life and ministry:

“The strategy is to reach out to people in the community, provide them with a short training and then send them out to transform and tell the good news.”