DENVER — Theatine Father Tomas Fraile, a longtime Denver pastor and a former official for his religious order, died March 19. He was 76 years old.
A native of Spain, Father Fraile served 41 years of his nearly 51-year priesthood at St. Cajetan Parish in Denver. It was his only parish assignment in the Denver Archdiocese.
He was surrounded at his death by other Theatine priests and members of the Cajetan community, according to an archdiocesan news release. No cause of death was given.
A funeral Mass for the priest was to be celebrated March 26 at St. Cajetan Church by Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, followed by interment at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge.
"Father Tomas tirelessly pursued the task of evangelization for over 41 years at the parish of St. Cajetan, and he will be remembered by his brother Theatines, the parish and by the Catholics of northern Colorado as a priest who demonstrated a great closeness to the people. He will be missed," the archbishop said in a statement.
Denver's Channel 9 News reported that Father Fraile was seen as a father figure by many in the Hispanic community and had "officiated thousands upon thousands of weddings, baptisms and funerals."
Besides his ministry as a pastor, Father Fraile also had served in various ministries in the Theatine order, including as vicar and provincial secretary in the United States.
For 25 years the priest also had his own weekly radio program, "La Hora Guadalupana," on a Denver-based radio station now called Radio Bueno.
Born in Oliva de Plasencia, Spain, Oct. 16, 1937, Tomas Fraile was educated at the seminaries of the Theatine Fathers, Congregation of Clerics Regular, in Bejar and Palma de Mallorca.
He studied philosophy and language arts in Mallorca and earned a bachelor's degree in dogmatic theology, sacred Scripture and Eastern languages at the Pontifical Gregorian University and at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, where he was ordained a priest July 7, 1963.
He taught Scripture, theology and classical languages at several seminaries and schools in Mallorca. In 1973 he started ministering at St. Cajetan's in the Denver Archdiocese.
Father Fraile was at St. Cajetan's when the church moved its location from what is now the Auraria campus of Metropolitan State University in downtown Denver to west Denver. Along with Theatine Father James Prohens, Father Fraile helped oversee the building of the new parish, including the church building. Fathers Prohens and Fraile were the only two pastors to serve at the current St. Cajetan Church.
Father Fraile was named pastor of St. Cajetan's following the death of Father Prohens in 2007.