Deacon Herrera instrumental in Hispanic ministry

Deacon Jesus Herrera, who helped establish Spanish Masses at then-Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Omaha, died April 14. He was 72.

A funeral Mass was held April 17 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, with interment at Graceland Park Cemetery, also in Omaha.

Ordained a deacon in 2002, and a member of Assumption-Guadalupe Parish, he served as spiritual director for the Cursillo movement in his parish and was involved in perpetual adoration.

“His real love was visiting the inmates at the Sarpy County and Douglas County jails, and visiting the homebound and bringing them Communion,” said Father Carl Zoucha, pastor of Assumption-Guadalupe.

Deacon Herrera also assisted at Masses, presided at baptisms and weddings and conducted baptism classes in Spanish.

He was among the first three Spanish-speaking deacons ordained by the archdiocese, said Father Damian Zuerlein, pastor of St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Omaha, who at the time was pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and helped with the men’s diaconate formation.

“Those deacons were so essential in the early years of Hispanic ministry to build credibility and trust and to be core church leaders for the immigrants there,” he said.

“He was very genuine,” Father Zuerlein said, “and once you had his trust and his support, he gave you 100 percent.”

He was preceded in death by a daughter, Maggie Herrera; parents, Florencio and Petronila Herrera. He is survived by his wife, Margarita; children, Veronica, Rocio, Aaron, Isela, and Jesse; 14 grandchildren; five brothers and one sister.

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