Fr. Juan González, C.PP.S., 77, died at 11:50 a.m. on Sunday, December 31, in the infirmary at St. Charles Center, Carthagena, Ohio, where he made his home. He had been in failing health in recent years.
Fr. González was born on February 8, 1946, to Antonio González Maldonado and Maria Isabel Aponte Maldonado in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was ordained on July 2, 1976, in the Church of Santa Teresita in the Diocese of Ponce, Puerto Rico. He was ordained by the bishop of Arecibo, Miguel Rodríguez. He celebrated his first Mass on July 3 in the parish of Santa Teresita, Ponce.
After his ordination he ministered at Immaculada Concepcion Parish of Vega Alta, Puerto Rico from 1976–80. Fr. González then spent two years in a Trappist monastery in Santiago, Chile. It was in Chile where he encountered the Missionaries of the Precious Blood and underwent special formation with the Congregation. He was incorporated as a Missionary of the Precious Blood on August 22, 1983.
Fr. González ministered in the Chilean Vicariate of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood until 1990, when he was appointed associate pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe in East Chicago, Ind. In 1994, he became pastor, where he served until 2013. From 2010-2011, Fr. González also served as pastoral administrator of St. Patrick Parish in East Chicago, later assisting at St. John the Baptist in Whiting, Ind. In May 2014, he was appointed as senior associate at St. Agnes Church in Los Angeles.
Fr. González retired to St. Charles Center in 2015. In recent years, he has been active in ministry to Spanish-speaking people, presiding at a Sunday Mass in Spanish in St. Charles’ St. Joseph Chapel.
Survivors include his siblings, all of Puerto Rico: Carmen (Jorge Torres) del Pilar, Ponce; Francisco Javier (Sandra Rodriguez) González, Ponce; Angel Luis González, San Juan; and Elsa Margarita (Jose Torres) González Aponte, Santa Isabel; a brother-in-law, Lionel Marengo, San Juan; and many nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
He was preceded in death by two sisters, Maria del Socorro and Elba Isabel González, and a brother-in-law, Pastor González.
Fr. González grew up in a family that valued education. His mother, especially, influenced all seven children to work hard in school and go on to college. Juan, the oldest of the boys, worked alongside his father and younger brothers in the family’s grocery store in Ponce. They did their homework there too, always a priority.
Juan studied mathematics and became a teacher/professor. At the same time, his faith was important to him, and eventually he listened to God’s call to the priesthood.
Wherever Fr. González served, he drew people near with his quiet, steadfast faith. People from his earliest ministry in the U.S., Our Lady of Guadalupe in East Chicago, were so close to him that they continued to visit him at St. Charles Center 30 years later.
His ministry to Spanish-speaking people in Mercer and Auglaize Counties in Ohio was an essential outreach. He met people where they were, offering Mass after hours in restaurants in the area, encouraging them in their struggles and celebrating family moments with them.
In all his years as a Missionary, he remained close in spirit to his family in Puerto Rico, keeping watch over them from afar.
Near the end of his life, attacked by illness in nearly every system of his body, Fr. González showed incredible strength and patient endurance. All who knew him were moved by the way he endured unspeakable pain. If it was God’s will that the end of his life would be difficult, then Fr. González would accept that with the wisdom and courage that marked his life of service.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Charles Center on Monday, January 8, at 2 p.m. Fr. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S., provincial director, presiding. Burial followed in the Community cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood United States Province.