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Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro-Carambula
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Msgr. Barreiro, pro-life priest and faithful servant of the Church, passes into eternity on Holy Thursday

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FRONT ROYAL, Virginia, April 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Human Life International is mourning the loss of one of its longest-serving and gifted defenders of life.

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carambula, former interim president of Human Life International (HLI) and longtime director of HLI’s Rome office, passed away early Thursday morning in Hawthorne, New York. He was 69.

“Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro’s courageous five-year battle with cancer ended (Thursday)  morning at 2 a.m. when he surrendered his life and spirit to the Lord,” stated HLI President Father Shenan Boquet.

“The entire HLI community mourns with his family, as Monsignor was a part of HLI’s family for more than 20 years,” Fr. Boquet said. “During this length of service, Monsignor touched and even saved countless lives with his many articles in defense of the most vulnerable, and his advocacy for them in often tenuous circumstances.”

Fr. Boquet noted Msgr. Barreiro’s love for the priesthood and thus the significance of his passing on Holy Thursday.

“Today begins the Holy Triduum, and on this day, Holy Thursday, Our Lord instituted the Sacred Priesthood and Most Holy Eucharist,” Fr. Boquet said last Thursday just after Monsignor's passing. “Monsignor loved his vocation to the priesthood and centered his life around the Holy Mass.”

“Today was very special for him,” he continued. “I think it only fitting that on this day Monsignor would surrender his life and spirit to the Lord Jesus, the High Priest, who so generously allowed him to share in His priesthood.”

A native of Uruguay, Msgr. Barreiro earned a law degree in his hometown of Montevideo. He was a member of the Uruguayan Foreign Service and a member of the delegation of Uruguay to the United Nations (UN).

After attending St. Joseph’s Seminary at Dunwoodie in Yonkers, New York, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York on November 14, 1987. 

He received his licentiate and doctorate degree in Systematic Theology from the University of the Holy Cross in Rome.

Msgr. Barreiro was involved in the pro-life and Traditional Latin Mass apostolates from the beginning of his priesthood.

In September 1998, Msgr. Barreiro became executive director of the Rome office for HLI. During his time there, he established an apostolate for priests and seminarians from around the world that were studying there.

He was appointed a Chaplain of His Holiness, or monsignor, on March 26, 2004. From 2010 to 2011, he served as the interim president of HLI.

Msgr. Barreiro was the author of hundreds of articles on theological and life issues, and historical subjects in popular and scholarly publications in the U.S., England, Italy, France, and Spain.

In 2014, his article "Sacred Liturgy and the Defense of Life" was published by Ignatius Press in its book “Sacred Liturgy: The Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church.”

Monsignor regularly gave talks on topics such as bioethics and the Catholic Church, the Catholic family, what it means to be a pro-life priest, and Church teaching on population control.

He was honored in 2013 for his lifetime of distinguished service defending and promoting a culture of life by organizers of the Rome March for Life with the group’s “Award for Life.”

Last April, Msgr. Barreiro took an invitation to serve as parochial vicar for a parish in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Fr. Boquet commended Monsignor at that time for courageously keeping his busy schedule in the years since his cancer diagnosis, writing articles, advising HLI’s partners and affiliates, and also maintaining vital correspondence with colleagues in Rome, the U.S. and around the world.

He said as well that Monsignor had also “blessed the Church” in assisting a large number of students at HLI’s Rome office library, many of whom he helped in consultations on doctoral publications and other projects.

“Most importantly, however, has been his generosity in celebrating Holy Mass and offering prayers for HLI’s mission and partners, as well as his consultations on many complicated issues that arise in working to defend life and family from the heart of the Catholic faith,” Fr. Boquet told HLI supporters. “His wisdom on canon law, theology, and Church protocol has been invaluable to me and to all of HLI, and his insights and presence will be sorely missed.”

Though Msgr. Barreiro was stepping away from full-time service with HLI, said Fr. Boquet, his commitment to the defense of faith, life and family was not diminished.

Monsignor continued to preach the gospel of life and integrate Church teaching on life and family into his parish duties. And as he was able, he also published articles with HLI.

Pro-life and Catholic leaders reacted to Msgr. Barreiro’s death.

His Eminence, Cardinal Raymond Burke, commented that Monsignor was “a man of remarkable talents who gave himself completely to Christ in the Holy Priesthood.”

“In a particular way, he manifested his priestly character in his care for our brothers and sisters whom the world today considers 'the least of our brethren:' the unborn and those who have grown weak because of illness, special needs, or advanced years,” Cardinal Burke said. “His work in the apostolate of respect for human life was outstanding and will bear lasting fruit.”

John Rao, a St. John’s University associate professor of history and director of the Roman Forum, said it was appropriate that Msgr. Barreiro died on Holy Thursday, “the birthday of the priesthood, because he was a heart-and-soul, 24/7 priest."

Monsignor was a Soldier of Christ, Rao said.

“He fought for the fullness of the Catholic teaching, every iota of every doctrine,” Rao continued. “He fought for the souls of all who came to him for help. He dropped everything — everything — for anyone who needed spiritual help.”

“In addition to being one of the most intelligent and aesthetically aware men that I have ever known, Don Ignacio was also one of the most humorous, amusing, and individual,” he stated.

“Please pray for this good and faithful servant of God, whose endless work in endless ways, both in the United States and in Rome, has been totally unsung,” Rao said. “He did more for the cause than people outside his close circle of friends can imagine.”

Dr. Joseph Meaney, HLI’s director of international outreach and expansion, told LifeSiteNews that he had worked with Msgr. Barreiro from his first day with HLI in 1998 in the HLI Rome office. They had four years together in Rome from 1998 to 2002 and then again from 2010 to 2014, and Monsignor was a mentor and spiritual example to Meaney. He said Msgr. Barreiro’s door was always open to give advice or spiritual counsel.

“He was exceptional in many ways,” Meaney recalled. “He always sought God's will and worked to fulfill it.”

Meaney further recounted how he was surprised to once learn Monsignor had never been to one particular Italian city. Msgr. Barreiro explained that his apostolate or pro-life work had not taken him there, said Meaney, and he never went somewhere without a mission sending him there.

He shared that Msgr. Barreiro loved history and art, and he would see many of the major art exhibitions that came to Rome.

Monsignor always wanted to have a spiritual apostolate and subsidized from his own funds a Latin Mass community in Rome, Meaney explained. Monsignor paid for a confessor each Sunday and gave the collection to the sisters, who allowed him to use the church of San Giuseppe Capo le Case (St. Joseph on the top of the houses).

“The serenity with which he faced his cancer was astonishing,” expressed Meaney. “He never had a moment of self-doubt or fear.”

“Instead, he was even more motivated to work hard for the Kingdom of God in the time he had left,” Meaney continued. “Monsignor did not want any extraordinary means to stay alive and even looked forward to his death and entrance into Eternal Life, but he felt it was his duty to seek the normal treatments for cancer.”

“If I had to sum up Msgr. Barreiro, it would be 'Thy will be done,'” he said. “He was deeply devoted to Our Lady, and he was also very discrete about his penitential practices, devotions and prayer life. He once told me that he did not want to seem pious or holier than thou.”

John Smeaton, chief executive of England’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), told LifeSiteNews he was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Msgr. Barreiro.

He called Monsignor “one of the greatest servants of the Catholic Church and of the pro-life movement I have been privileged to know, as well as a wonderful personal friend.”

In Msgr. Barreiro’s role as director of the HLI’s Rome office, amid countless other responsibilities as a priest and pro-life leader, Smeaton said Monsignor was an adviser and friend to SPUC “of the highest quality.”

“His vast experience, his erudition, his unfailing charity, self-deprecating good humor, were always present in all his communications on both a professional and personal level,” Smeaton said. “Above all, his priestly pastoral charity was always at the service of others – demonstrated by the deep interest he showed in all the problems and challenges which were brought to his door.”

Smeaton shared with LifeSiteNews that SPUC's international director was fortunate to see their friend and adviser just a week before his death and was able to convey the SPUC staff’s heartfelt gratitude and prayers.

Smeaton concluded, “May Monsignor Barreiro, the great apostle of Christ and the great champion of unborn children and the family, rest in peace!”

LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen stated, “For myself and for LifeSiteNews, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Lord for Monsignor Barreiro’s friendship, his counsel, his heroic example and most especially his encouragement in the faith of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

On the occasion of Msgr. Barreiro’s passing, Fr. Boquet said further, “May Our Lord welcome his faithful priest and servant home: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant … Come, share your master’s joy.’”

On the occasion of Msgr. Barreiro’s passing, Fr. Boquet said further, “May Our Lord welcome his faithful priest and servant home: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant… Come, share your master’s joy.’”

“Eternal rest grant unto Monsignor O, Lord. And let Your perpetual light shine upon him.”

A wake and Vespers were held Easter Monday for Msgr. Barreiro, followed by a funeral Mass on Tuesday morning at Saint Mary’s Church in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Human Life International has established a tribute page where Msgr. Barreiro’s friends and colleagues are invited to post reflections. It can be accessed HERE.

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