Father Rafael Jose Perez, 57, of Chester, NJ passed away on February 27, 2019 at Morristown Medical Center, Morristown, NJ. Father Rafael was born on March 7, 1961 to Juan Hilario Perez and Rosa Maria Castillo in Carora, Venezuela. He has lived as a Hermit of Bethlehem in Chester, NJ for 13 years.
Father Rafael attended Colegio Christo Rey in Carora, Venezuela, received his Undergraduate Degree in Engineering from Simon Bolivar University in Caracas, Venezuela and his MBA from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Father graduated from Holy Apostle Seminary in Cromwell, Ct in May of 2013, earning a MA in Theology as well as an MDiv. Father Rafael was ordained on June 29, 2013 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Rosary in Summit, NJ and his priestly assignment was at Bethlehem Hermitage in Chester, NJ. Father has been active in the formation of hermits, in the establishment of a volunteer group and an associates group. He has spent many hours in the Sacrament of Confession and spiritual direction.
Father Rafael is survived by his parents, Juan Hilario Perez and Rosa Maria (Castillo), and his brothers, Jorge Luis Perez, Juan Carlos Perez, Diego Jesus Perez, and Rafael Bernardo Perez.
A wake for Father Rafael will take place at the chapel at Hermits of Bethlehem, 82 Pleasant Hill Road, Chester, NJ on Sunday, March 3, 2019 from 12pm to 3pm. The Vesper Service will be held at 3pm following the visitation.
Father Rafael's funeral mass will be celebrated on Monday, March 4, 2019 at 10:30am at St. Lawrence Church, 375 Main Street, Chester, NJ. Interment will follow at the Cemetery of the Parousia at the Hermits of Bethlehem in the Heart of Jesus in Chester, NJ.
Memorial donations may be made to the Hermits of Bethlehem, 82 Pleasant Hill Road, Chester, NJ 07930.