Fr. Ray Vega, SCJ
1924 – 2016
Fr. Ray Vega, SCJ, died early March 6 in Pinellas Park, FL. He was 91.
Originally from East Chicago, Ind., Fr. Ray pursued his religious vocation after serving in the US Navy. He was active during both World War II and the Korean Conflict as a hospital corpsman.
Professed in 1957, he served the Priests of the Sacred Heart as a religious brother for many years before following the call to ordained ministry. He worked as a registered nurse, serving migrant workers in Indiana, and later in the missions in Indonesia. He also taught Spanish at Divine Heart Seminary.
It was while he was in Indonesia that he began to think about the priesthood. He attended the SCJ scholasticate in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, from 1970-72, and then completed his seminary training at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology before his ordination in 1973.
He returned to Indonesia for three years after ordination. Back in the US Province in 1976, Fr. Ray served at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston, Texas (1976-79 and 1985-86) and at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Brownsville (1979-84). He was also active in hospital chaplaincy in Tennessee and South Dakota, and served as chaplain at the Holy Family Center in Sioux Falls, SD from 1990-92.
Fr. Ray assisted in ministry to the retired at the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park from 1987-90. Three years later, in 1993, he retired himself and joined the community. He continued to be a member of the community until his death; in recent weeks he was in home hospice care as his health declined.
Fr. Vega is survived by his sisters Aurora Villarreal and Maria de Jesus Rico, nieces, nephews, friends and, of course, his fellow SCJs.
Wake and funeral services will be held on Tuesday, March 8, at Sacred Heart Residence in Pinellas Park, FL beginning at 5:30 pm. Services in Wisconsin will be at Good Shepherd Chapel at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake in Franklin, WI, on Friday, March 11. Reception of the body will be at 9 am. The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Sacred Heart Mausoleum.