Giant of the Diocese: 6th Annual Dei Gratia Honoree Announced

March 17, 2020

Rev. Richard A. "Rick" Matty† has been chosen as the 2020 recipient of the Catholic Foundation's Dei Gratia Award. The Dei Gratia Award, Latin for “By the Grace of God”, recognizes an individual, couple, or organization for their servant leadership, outstanding contribution to the Diocese of El Paso and our Catholic community, and their dedication to being good stewards of God’s grace. Fr. Matty will be honored posthumously at the 14th Annual Foundation of Faith Dinner on September 17.

Fr. Matty was often described as meticulous, approachable, inspiring and a person who would give you his time and attention. He was a great preacher and counselor, and had a gift for leading people to what they needed in ministry and in life. Fr. Matty's passing on July 16, 2012 left the community reeling and since that time social media lights up with messages for Fr. Matty on his birthday and the anniversary of his death. Andi Meece, Chairwoman of the Foundation of Faith Dinner said, "He had the gift of making you feel like a special friend even if you only encountered him on the steps of St. Patrick Cathedral after Mass. That's what made him a giant." This honor will provide the community with ways to celebrate the life and vocation of a great priest and one of the giants of the Diocese.

Richard Matty was born on May 6, 1955 in Maple Heights, Ohio to Frank and Betty Matty. He studied at Borromeo Seminary, received a B.S. in Psychology in 1977 from John Carroll University and an M.A. in Theology from Catholic University in 1981. He was ordained a priest on May 28, 1983 by Bishop Edward Pevec in Cleveland, Ohio, for the Society of Mary (Marists). He came to El Paso in 1986 and was the founding executive director of Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services. He helped establish St. Frances Xavier Mother Cabrini Parish by going door to door, along with Sr. Margie Silguero, to invite people to be a part of the church, and was named the first pastor to serve there. Fr. Matty was appointed the administrator of the Diocese during “Sede vacante” when Bishop Raymundo Peña was transferred and before Bishop Armando X. Ochoa was installed as the new bishop for the Diocese of El Paso. He would go on to serve as vicar general, moderator of the curia, and chancellor. He was appointed the rector of St. Patrick Cathedral on July 1, 1997. Fr. Matty served the Cathedral until his death on July 16, 2012 at the age of 57.

Fr. Rick was dynamic, had tremendous energy, and was a powerful force in the community. He is one of the men credited with bringing the ACTS movement to El Paso, he was a leader in interfaith dialogue, integral in establishing a medical mission in Chiapas with Dr. Charlie Gutierrez and others, created the St. Patrick Cathedral Historic Preservation Fund at the Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso, replaced the Cathedral’s organ after it was destroyed when hit by lightning for the second time in 1997, and, at the time of his death, the St. Patrick Cathedral School gym building and library projects, and the St. Patrick Cathedral ministry center were close to completion.

Fr. "Rick" Matty† will be honored with the 6th Annual Dei Gratia Award at the 14th Annual Foundation of Faith Dinner on Thursday, September 17, 2020 at the El Paso Convention Center. The evening includes a cocktail reception, dinner with wine, Dei Gratia Award presentation, live auction, and keynote speaker, Jim Caviezel—Emmy Award-winning actor, director, producer and philanthropist best known for his portrayal of Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. Tickets are $125 per person and $1,250 per table. Sponsorship opportunities are available from $2,500 to $35,000. Get your tickets!

Back to All News