DENVER (CBS4) — The Archdiocese of Denver is mourning the loss of an up-and-coming leader. Juan Carlos Reyes, 33, died from complications of cancer treatment on Wednesday.
“It’s a great loss,” said Alfonso Lara, Director of Hispanic Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Denver. “A fully integrated person into the life of the church and the life of the society and he was our best example. That’s why we were so proud of him and we were so close to him because he embraced all the values of the faith.”
Reyes was the Director of Centro San Juan Diego, a resource center for immigrants trying to assimilate to life in Denver. El Centro had a special place in Reyes’s heart. It wasn’t just a job, it was also the place he was made to feel comfortable after immigrating from Mexico as a teenager. Reyes talked to CBS4 in June about his immigration experience.
“I saw him grow, I saw him become the man he became,” said Lara who first met Reyes when he was a teen. “He had many, many struggles, just like many other immigrants. Getting to know the system, getting to know the schooling system, proving himself in every way.”
Reyes stayed with the ministry and the church after high school. He wanted to give back to the organization that helped him so much.
“He became very self-aware of the needs of many other Hispanic immigrants in the community. He knew first-hand how people’s struggled out there in the community,” Lara said. “That’s why he became an advocate of the community. He always was proud and happy to say we are changing lives with this ministry and he was always happy and proud of it.”
Reyes leaves behind a wife and three young boys. More information can be found here.
A funeral has been set for Saturday, March 30 at noon at Queen of Peace in Aurora.