Father Kenneth Hume celebrated his 80th birthday and 50th ordination anniversary with “his kids” in Honduras.
A retired priest in the Archdiocese of Portland and former U.S. Army chaplain, Father Hume has traveled many times to Rancho Santa Fe, one of the many Latin American homes that are part of the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos network, which provides homes for orphaned and disabled boys and girl and the elderly who have nowhere else to live.
Father Hume sponsored his first child at Rancho Santa Fe 11 years ago. Martha has now grown up and finished medical school. Since then, he has also sponsored more than a dozen other “pequeños,” who have nicknamed their godfather “Padre Tortilla.”
Born in Molalla in 1933, the priest graduated from Mount Angel Seminary in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and from St. Thomas Seminary in Kenmore Wash., in 1963 with a Master of Divinity. He was ordained by Archbishop Edward Howard in 1963.
He served at the now-closed Queen of Peace Parish in North Portland, St. Mary Parish in Corvallis and St. Rose Parish in Portland before his military chaplaincy. He was stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., before and after serving during the Vietnam War. He retired in 1988.
During his regular visits to the ranch, “Padre Tortilla” says weekly Mass and presides over baptisms and funerals. He anoints those who suffer from HIV/AIDS, helps with work around the site, and doles out hugs to pequeños returning from school.
One of his jobs in the kitchen is to help pass out tortillas during meals, the origin of his nickname.
Though Father Hume speaks very little Spanish, he said “people with a good heart speak the same language.”