July 16, 2019
An anonymous donor established the Reverend Richard A. Matty Fund for Seminarian Education in memory of the beloved Fr. Rick Matty† The fund was established with a gift of $10,000 in honor of Fr. Rick's May 6 heavenly birthday. Fr. Matty was often described as meticulous, approachable, 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.
Every year since his passing, social media lights up with messages for Fr. Matty on his birthday and the anniversary of his death. A guestbook on his obituary page includes hundreds, if not thousands, of messages, including one from Ricardo Sanchez in Alexandria, Virginia that reads, “Father Rick was the best priest I've ever had the privilege to know. He was a genuine, caring human being who elevated the Gospel to inspire the greatest and best in those around him. Father Rick changed the world and he changed me.”
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.
The Reverend Richard A. Matty Fund is a Named Fund in the Seminarian Education Endowment Fund, created to ensure continual resources for the recruitment and training of seminarians to serve as the future leadership of the Diocese of El Paso. If you would like to contribute to a fund in memory of Fr. Matty, please consider giving to Seminarian Education, Retired Priests, or the St. Patrick Cathedral Historic Preservation Fund or contact Major Gifts Officer Sofía Larkin at the Foundation at 915.872.8412.