Date of death: 8/18/2019
Saint Meinrad Class: MTS 1999
Fr. Benedict DeLeon, a priest who served the Diocese of Sacramento from 1980 to 2019, died on Aug. 18 at the Priests’ Retirement Village in Citrus Heights. He had retired from active ministry on Jan. 31, 2019 and was named Pastor Emeritus of Corpus Christi Parish in Tahoe City.
Vigil and rosary will be held on Monday, Aug. 26 at St. Paul Church, located at 8720 Florin Road in Sacramento. Visitation at 5 p.m. with vigil following at 6:30 p.m. Bishop Jaime Soto will preside at a Mass of Christian Burial on Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Paul Church. Bishop Emeritus William K. Weigand will concelebrate. A reception will follow in the parish hall. Burial will be at 2:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cemetery, located at 6509 Fruitridge Road.
A Sacramento native, Fr. DeLeon served as an altar boy at St. Paul Parish. He graduated from Elk Grove High School, attended St. Joseph College Seminary in Mountain View, CA and earned a bachelor’s degree in humanities. Completing his studies for the priesthood at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, he was ordained by Bishop Francis A. Quinn on March 22, 1980 in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento.
His early assignments were as associate pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Vallejo (1980-82), vocations director for the diocese (1982-85) and chaplain to Christian Brothers High School (1983-85). His first pastorate was for St. John the Evangelist Parish in Dunsmuir (1985-1992) while also serving as administrator of St. Joseph Parish in McCloud. Subsequently, he was appointed pastor of St. Clare Parish in Roseville (1992-93), Our Divine Savior Parish in Chico (1993-96), St. Mary Parish in Vacaville (1996-2001), St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Oroville (2001-08), St. Joseph Parish in Redding (2008-10), St. Theresa Parish in South Lake Tahoe (2010-15), and Corpus Christi Parish in Tahoe City (2015-19).
For the Sacramento Diocese, Fr. DeLeon served on the Presbyteral Council, the Priests’ Personnel Board, the Tribunal, the Deacon Advisory Board and the Catholic School Board and was priest representative to the San Francisco Province of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils. He led young people on three World Youth Days: Australia in 2008, Spain in 2011 and Poland in 2016. At the Houston conference in Nov. 2017 of the National Assembly of Filipino American Priests, Fr. DeLeon was recognized as the oldest American-born Filipino priest in the nation.
Preceded in death by his parents Benedict & Praxedes DeLeon, he is survived by his siblings Philip DeLeon of Sacramento, Daniel DeLeon (Josie) of Sacramento, Marlene DeLeon (Tom Lucci) of Foxborough, MA and Dr. Jane de Leon (Peter Horton) of Wilton. He was a loving uncle to six nephews, four nieces, and four great nephews and two great nieces. Gifts in memory of Fr. DeLeon may be sent to St. Paul Church, Sacramento, CA.
Published in The Sacramento Bee from Aug. 22 to Aug. 23, 2019