Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro died on Holy Thursday, April 13, 2017, following a long battle with cancer. Below are some statements from Monsignor Barreiro’s friends and colleagues, and a selection of some of Monsignor’s writing and other works.
Please join the HLI family in praying for Monsignor’s soul, and for consolation for all who mourn him.
Father Shenan Boquet, president of Human Life International
Living a life centered on Christ was Monsignor Barreiro’s goal as priest and servant of the Gospel. Anyone who met Monsignor could feel his passion for Christ and His Church. Everything flowed from this love and with profound gratitude for what the Father generously gave him; Monsignor devoted and exhausted himself for the mission of Jesus. Even while undergoing chemotherapy, he dedicated his free time to writing, teaching, and counsel. I would often find him at his desk answering emails, responding to the needs of HLI’s global pro-life family. “All for the glory of God,” he would say.
Monsignor embodied the attitude of the Apostle Paul, “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal” (Phil 3:13-14). In health and throughout his battle with cancer, Monsignor embodied this humble attitude and single-minded passion. He trusted himself to the will of the Father and sacrificed all for the sake of the Gospel.
I am forever grateful to Almighty God for allowing my life to cross paths with Monsignor Barreiro’s. My life is enriched by the example of his priestly life, unabashed defense of truth and untiring dedication to the protection of human life.
Maybe the best way to pay tribute to my friend is to use the words of the Apostle Paul I believe portrays best the life and priesthood of Monsignor Barreiro, “For me, to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21).
John-Henry Westen, LifeSiteNews
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.
I remember fondly our meetings in Rome over the years and always being motivated by his fighting spirit. His solicitous help in arranging Vatican meetings and giving us treasured advice has helped LifeSite immeasurably.
My only regret is that it was only recently in our many years of friendship that I was able to participate in his offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, for, as I found out only lately, this was his true love and strength. Rest in peace good servant of the Master, you gave yourself all to Him through His Holy Mother, may He receive you now from Her arms.
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) This scripture passage immediately comes to my mind when I think of my dear friend, Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro. I worked directly with him in the HLI Rome office for 7 years and we served as colleagues for 17 years. He always sought earnestly to bring his will into conformity with our Savior’s desires.
When he became gravely ill, this abandonment to God’s will became even more striking. He did not seek extraordinary means to preserve his life, but he also did not neglect the normal treatments that were available. Most impressive to me was his serenity and even joy in the face of his life-threatening cancer and the painful therapies he endured. His one desire was to attain the beatitude of heaven, but he wanted to do as much good on earth as he possibly could before his death. His one complaint was when others tried to limit his activity because of his fragile health. That old proverb about there being plenty of time to rest after our death and not before was certainly his practice.
Monsignor also impressed me deeply by his pursuit of virtue. He believed in the Aristotelian mean, the correct path that lies between the two extremes. Not a naturally patient person, he worked on this virtue continuously. He never rushed to take a decision but always took the time to think matters through. When he made a commitment, he always poured himself out to fulfill it. Perhaps the only vice Monsignor displayed often was a lack of moderation when it came to buying good books for the HLI Rome library. He had so many interests in theology, philosophy, history, bioethics, art, etc. that there were always more books to acquire. Most striking of all, was his love of the beauty of the Tridentine liturgy and desire to give all his many talents for the greater glory of God.
John Smeaton, Executive Director of SPUC
I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Monsignor Barreiro – 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 his role as director of the Rome office of Human Life International, amidst countless other responsibilities as a priest and pro-life leader, he was an adviser and friend to the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children of the highest quality. His vast experience, his erudition, his unfailing charity, self-deprecating good humour, were always present in all his communications on both a professional and personal level. 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. SPUC’s International Director was fortunate to see our friend and advisor just a week before his death in Hawthorne, NY and was able to convey to him our heartfelt gratitude and assurance of prayers.
May Monsignor Barreiro, the great 21st century apostle of Christ and the great champion of unborn children and the family, rest in peace!
Father Francesco Giordano, director of HLI’s Rome office
When I think of the first time I met Monsignor Barreiro, I recall it was before Mass in the Sacristy at the church of S. Giuseppe Capo Le Case, where he would celebrate Mass on Sundays. He was trying to be welcoming even though he had Mass for which to prepare. As soon as I picked up that I could be disturbing him, I apologized and asked to speak with him afterward. He replied with a kind smile that meeting someone is always a pleasure.
As a young seminarian in Rome, I was following the advice of the seminary by exploring Rome, so I was looking for good priests. When I heard his homily that Sunday, I remember how much I loved the depth of it, how much he brought the Gospel to life. Clearly, this was the beginning of a long friendship because I had found a priest whom I could respect and seek to emulate in some way. Part of the preparation to the priesthood, in fact, is to have a sort of apprenticeship with older priests, and it is not even something one does consciously. It just happens.
Whenever I would go visit him at the HLI office, he would be courteous and generous. It was apparent that he really cared for me, for my formation, and for the Church at large. He desired ardently that seminarians and priests be the men of God people need for the salvation of their souls, and he did everything he could to help us. Many of the people in Rome who knew him would frequently use the adjectives “intelligent,” “gentleman,” “pious,” “hard-working” and “generous.” Maybe they did not use them all in the same phrase, but these were the words unanimously used. The love and respect he gave others, he also received.
As his successor in an office and library that he carefully and lovingly created, giving it the touch of culture and depth that it has, I am very grateful to Mons. Barreiro for everything he did for me and the HLI Rome Office. I hope that I may help it bear the fruit of which he would be proud. He will be greatly remembered in my thoughts and prayers. RIP.
George Wirnkar, HLI’s director of Francophone Africa
My path and Monsignor Barreiro’s crossed way back in his initial years as Director of the HLI Rome office. I was cutting my teeth then in far away Cameroon as an aprentice pro-life crusader.
I very quickly fell in love with Monsignor’s passion for detail even on issues where I thought the available ordinary distinctions and explanations were sufficient. If Monsignor quickly established himself as a mentor, it must be said he set standards so high that only men with the highest dedication to truth and exactness could meet: his letters were artfully crafted, his respect for the sacred always on point, his diction measured and his judgement prudent.
But Monsignor was no nerd. He enjoyed a good scotch and if you tried any adulteration of premium scotch with Coke, as I am wont to, then you quickly found out the good-mannered diplomat in the man had never really gone away. It had just been set aside for a higher pursuit. On Holy Thursday 2017, this pursuit reached its goal as Monsignor breathed his last on the same day as the universal Church commemorates both the institution of the priesthood and the Eucharist. He ran the race to the finish, he kept the faith. May the crown of glory and the promise of the resurrection and eternal life, be his now that his work is done.
Requiescat in Pace, Monsignor Barreiro!
Father Richard L. Welch, C.Ss.R., former president of HLI
Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro’s was my friend and colleague at HLI. Msgr. Ignacio was hired by HLI to establish HLI’s Roman branch office, Vita Umut ana Internazionale, which formally opened in November 1998. Its mission was to assist priests, seminarians and laymen who are studying in Rome by providing them with resources on moral theology, family life issues and bioethics. Msgr. Ignacio soon became a reliable and much sought-after consultant for Vatican officials and professors at pontifical universities and students of moral theology. Through his work in Rome he advanced the culture of life and surely his work will continue to promote and defend the sanctity of life around the world.
I pray in gratitude for his faith, for his devout celebration of the Holy Mass, for his long years of priestly service and for his perseverance in his vocation. Jesus said: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” Msgr. Ignacio adored Jesus in the host that he was privileged to hold in his hands and I pray that he now contemplates that same Jesus face to face.